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Town looks at more holiday lights for 2021

By LISA WHALEY

Publisher

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Christmas may be over, but Jonesborough’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen are already looking to make next year’s holidays even brighter and more sparkly.

“I’ve had more people tell me how nice downtown looks,” shared Alderman Terry Countermine at the BMA’s Dec. 16 meeting.

The change was due in part to 2020’s pandemic, Town Adminstrator Glenn Rosenoff shared in an earlier conversation. With more and more activities curtailed by COVID-19 safety guidelines, the town opted to up the illumination factor, spreading more lights — and hopefully cheer — to Jonesborough’s downtown than ever before.

The response, officials shared, was an increase in visitors looking to “see the lights” as word spread about Jonesborough glittering downtown.

It’s an idea, Countermine said, that he would like to expand.

“I think we ought to look into putting more receptacles on more street lights so we can do more trees next year,” Countermine suggested.  “And then budget for it, because it really has attracted people to town.”

Mayor Chuck Vest agreed. 

Part of the issue this year, he said, “we kind of got a late jump.”

Now they have time to plan.

“We can expand those Christmas lights further down Main Street,” Vest said. “It certainly is something we can explore.”

Operations Manager Craig Ford cautioned, however,  that it wouldn’t be as easy as just stringing up a few more lights. Lighting receptacles in the tree wells that were used in 2020 are limited and already rely on underground power from the courthouse. Finding another power source for extra receptacles could be complicated. 

“The biggest issue is BrightRidge will not put (receptacles) there if it can’t be metered,” Ford explained. That rules out street lights as a source since they are paid on a set monthly fee, rather than a metered one. 

Still, officials agreed the idea was worth exploring.

“It would not be an easy undertaking, though I’m sure somehow it could be done,” Ford said.

“We have a year to do it.” Countermine said.