Don’t expect to see the garland and Christmas decorations hanging from the traffic lights in downtown Warsaw anymore. Mayor Joe Thallemer explained that the weight of the decorations, coupled by sometimes high winds, have put “a tremendous force on the poles” which has resulted in bowing and, in some cases, even cracking at the base of the poles.
The issue was brought up during the Warsaw Common Council meeting Monday night as Thallemer said there is a new effort underway to explore the possibilities of perimeter lighting for all downtown buildings. Last year was the first Warsaw did not put out the usual display of Christmas lighted garland and snowflakes.
Several thousand dollars are remaining in this year’s facade grant program which would qualify for the purchase of perimeter lights. Contact is being made with with downtown building owners now to inquire about interest. A proposal is expected before the common council on Nov. 4.
Speaking of facades, the council also heard a brief presentation by Warsaw/Kosciusko County Chamber of Commerce President Mark Dobson regarding the proposed alleyway pilot program as part of the facade grant program. The council was first introduced to the plan on Sept. 2 (see related). At Monday night’s meeting, Dobson said some minor changes were made to the program including a more defined scoring mechanism and provisions that give the Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety and the acting Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Chief authority to determine safe and acceptable uses of alleyways.
Thallemer also noted the city is not looking to close any alleyways permanently, but applications will be considered for downtown businesses that may want to utilize alleys for after hour dining or other events that would require temporary closures.
Dobson gave a very short update on the city’s proposed pop-up shops for the holiday season (see related story). While six applications have been received – 5 of which meet the qualifications and have the necessary insurance – Dobson said, “We’re having a little difficulty with finding locations.” The city hopes to work with owners of currently vacant downtown buildings to provide shoppers with additional options in the downtown area.
The application for retailers has passed, but the Warsaw Community Development Corporation is still in need of vacant buildings for the holiday season, expected to run Nov. 1 through Jan. 2, 2014. To take part in the leasing process, contact the WCDC at 574-267-6311.