Houston Christmas lights need revamp

HOUSTON – Snowflakes in the trees on The Square downtown and along Jackson and Madison Street have helped proclaim Christmas in Houston for years.

Houston Aldermen were told last week that time and the elements have taken their toll and it’s either time for new lights or an extensive rework of the bulbs and wiring of the white snowflakes.

“We try to fix them every year and we get them all working and by they time we hang them up we have strands that break,” said Ricko Nichols, Houston Street Department Superintendent. “We just need to evaluate what we want to do and give us some direction.”

Nichols said rewiring and installing new bulbs is not that expensive, but the work in tedious and time consuming. He also pointed out typical bulbs burn out and he suggested LED lights which last much longer but are a little more expensive.

“We had a member from Main Street Houston rewire one of the scenes on The Square with the LED lights,” said Nichols. “It looks real nice but we are talking hundreds of bulbs for just one scene and it took him a while to do the work.”

Nichols estimated the larger decorations on utility poles around town would cost about $500 to replace and the smaller snowflakes about $250. Each snowflake has 24 lights.

“I’m guessing it would cost about $125 to rewire and put in new bulbs like we have now,” said Nichols. “The problem is I don’t have people I can put on that work.”

Nichols urged Aldermen to ask churches, businesses, civic clubs and civic-minded individuals to adopt a light and re-work it.

“The wiring is not that complicated and just about anybody can do it,” said Nichols. “The city could buy the materials and after we take them down this Christmas people can come by and pick up one or two to fix.”

Place 4 Alderman Willie Mae McKinney suggested a fundraiser to help defer the cost of new lights.

Nichols said there was no rush, but he did need to know the board’s direction and what to do with lights when they come down in January.

For more information or to adopt a snowflake, call Houston City Hall at 456-2328.

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