No tree lighting ceremony in Rolling Meadows, but new decorations planned
Rolling Meadows won't have its public holiday tree lighting ceremony this year, but city public works crews will still quietly flip the switch on a whole host of new decorations for people to enjoy.
City officials canceled the ceremony, originally set for Dec. 3 outside the historical museum at Central Road and Barker Avenue, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Still, the museum campus will be decked out with new lights and decorations after crews spent the fall wiring additional electricity through light poles.
The city moved its annual tree lighting ceremony to the museum last year as the old spot, in front of the McDonald's on Kirchoff Road, was becoming more crowded and construction distorted the large evergreen.
There's since been calls to move the tree lighting back to Kirchoff -- long considered the city's traditional downtown corridor. But a plan to do that proved too costly and rushed to implement.
Alderman Mike Cannon initially proposed that a 20-foot artificial tree donated to the city last year be installed on vacant city-owned property across the street from city hall at Kirchoff Road and Owl Lane.
One electrical contractor recently told city officials he could prep the vacant site for power at a cost of $10,500, in a condensed time frame. ComEd would charge another $1,200 to finish the connection, provided its crews weren't diverted to an emergency weather situation, officials said.
Those factors led the city council this week to table the Kirchoff tree lighting idea, for now.
"I think going forward, I guess I would like to see something done on Kirchoff, if we're going to consider this still our main shopping/business district," Cannon said.
He said he's grown increasingly concerned with recent business closures on Kirchoff, including Great American Bagel, Dunkin' Donuts and Taco Bell.
"I think maybe as a city we better start looking and figure out ways to make that area more attractive to get more people downtown, or what we call downtown anyhow," Cannon said.
Alderman Lara Sanoica suggested city staff develop a more comprehensive, long-range approach to holiday decorations at various locations and thoroughfares in the city.
Such a plan would help "promote a sense of place and give us consistency and predictability going forward," Sanoica said.
Officials said they would be able to report back to the council in January or February.