After 2 years of darkness, Lincoln Avenue could see return of holiday lights | SteamboatToday.com

After 2 years of darkness, Lincoln Avenue could see return of holiday lights

Scott Franz

Holiday lights grace downtown Steamboat Springs in February as traffic moves along Lincoln Avenue.

— Main Street Steamboat Springs Manager Lisa Popovich is working as hard as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve to try to bring the holiday lights back to downtown Steamboat Springs this year.

After two years of holiday darkness and a lack of jolly on Lincoln Avenue, Popovich thinks she's finally found a solution that won't break the city's bank account.

For $35,000, holiday lighting company Christmas Décor could light 49 trees on Lincoln.

Popovich on Tuesday will approach the Steamboat Springs City Council seeking some of the funding.

She's hopeful her request won't be met with a bah humbug.

But she does expect a community fundraising effort will be needed to cover some of the cost to bring the lights back.

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City manager Gary Suiter is recommending that the city cover half of the cost.

"I think everyone I talk to wants to see the lights back on Main Street," Popovich said. "We're going to have to all come together and hope for some of the angels in the community to step up, because it's something for all of us. It's so charming to have the lights downtown."

The lights went dark in 2014 after a dog was shocked by the city's janky lighting system.

Popovich said coming up with a solution to bring back the lights hasn't been easy.

"Our power source is gone, so our options have been limited," she said.

The conduit that feeds the old holiday lighting system downtown was crushed when Lincoln Avenue was overhauled and repaved a few years ago.

City officials have so far been unable to find a cost-effective solution.

To avoid paying in excess of $200,000 to replace the old system, Popovich said Christmas Décor has come up with a way to power lights on downtown trees from the roofs of downtown buildings.

The city has used a similar lighting system to power the overhead lights on Yampa Street.

With the help of a few wiring elves, the lights on Lincoln Avenue could be in place this holiday season.

It will also take some cooperation from downtown business owners, who would need to agree to lend some of their electricity to make the system work.

Popovich said the new LED lights would be brighter and more impressive than the old lights.

"I think we'll see a big difference," Popovich said.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10