Citizens of all ages pledging support for downtown Christmas lights

Published 4:26 pm Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hearing the call from local businessman Joe Alexander and the members of the Holiday Lighting Committee, the community is doing their part to help restore the Christmas lights scattered throughout downtown Elizabethton.
Work continues to blossom on the project of refurbishing Christmas lights downtown as the committee is well on their way of reaching their goal of $23,000 through donations to have the decorations in order for this year’s Christmas season.
“We’ve still got a little ways to go, but I’m thrilled with the progress so far,” Alexander said. “It’s been exciting to see the support from the community on this project.”
Alexander serves as the treasurer for the Holiday Lighting Committee and provided an update on current numbers for the Christmas lights’ restoration project.
The committee currently has $8,800 and with commitments already in place, including from the Carter County Commission and other outlets, Alexander estimates the committee is around the $14,000 mark.
A recent fundraiser initiative by the Elizabethton City School System also provided a boost to the campaign, Alexander said.
Students at T.A. Dugger Junior High were able to raise $292.12 thanks in part to a special game show event held in the school’s auditorium. With the project’s success, the students were able to sponsor two pole ornaments. The Elizabethton High School custodian staff was able to raise  $166.27 while the other entities with the system (EHS, Central Office, and Harold McCormick were able to raise a total $157.72.
“I can’t say enough about how great that was,” Alexander said. “I was thrilled to hear that. That essentially pays to refurbish four pole ornaments plus most of another one,” Alexander said.
The custodians; Glorida Hall, Tammie Fowler, Tim Hicks, Jena Williams, Austin Murray and Melinda Pierce also received special thanks from the treasurer.
“It was raised from their accumulated pocket change which each one normally sticks back for a splurge item,” Alexander said. “I can’t say enough about them.”
Ground fixtures throughout downtown have already seen commitments as well.
Carter County Farm Bureau, Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank, Carter County Imagination Library, Summers-Taylor, Jeana Young Zeiler and Dean Zeiler have put their names in the hat to sponsor ground fixtures, along with commitments coming from other entities Alexander said.
Other avenues being pursued include a sponsorship underway to have a fixture within the city to honor former committee member Harvey Anderson — who helped spearhead the “makeover” of the downtown Christmas lights in 1998. Ritchie’s has also looked at sponsoring lights.
Businesses, organizations or individuals wanting to sponsor a light pole ornament can do so for $130 while a ground fixture can be sponsored for $750. All proceeds raised from the drive goes to the refurbishment of the lights, which are maintained by Charles and Jerry Rotenberry of Twin City Decoration.
Alexander also added he has received support from local churches to refurbish the highly noticeable nativity scene.
“In the past, the churches would handle the maintenance of the lights,” Alexander said. “I sent out letters to 70 of our local churches and we’ve been able to raise $400 so far for the lights. It would take $1,500 to properly refurbish the lights … so we’re almost there, too.”
Alexander also thanked the businesses that currently have “Buy A Bulb” boxes in their offices. Citizens can donate $1 in the boxes located at the County Clerk’s Office, Trustees Office, City Hall, Big John’s Closeouts, J’s Corner, the Coffee Company, Alexander Insurance Agency and City Market.
“I can’t say enough about everyone’s support,” Alexander said. “We’re well on our way toward our goal.”
For more information, individuals can either call Alexander at his office at (423) 543-2221 or stop by regular business hours at Alexander Insurance Agency. Donations can also be mailed to: Holiday Lighting Fund, 612 East Elk Ave., Elizabethton, TN 37643.

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