A Sincere ‘Thank-You’

Editorials / Jan. 11, 2001 12:00am EST

Decorations along Randolph’s Main Street were coming down this week, leading to grateful thoughts about the committee of residents—and dozens of volunteers—who were responsible for this truly splendid display. As everybody knows who has ever organized an event, the clean-up crew is an essential element. It’s one thing to volunteer your time to put up the lights, knowing how satisfying it will be when the switch is thrown. It’s perhaps harder to volunteer an equal amount of time to take them down after the lights are out.

If last year’s display of lights was an eye-popper, this year’s was even better. The lighted wreaths on the electric poles and the dramatic Santa’s sleigh atop the Tallman building were great improvements. And this year’s display, apparently, was much less targeted by vandals than last year’s. There may have been a few incidents, but to the casual observer, all the lights seemed to be on most all the time. That’s a sign of popular acceptance of and pride in the Christmas display.

Another sign of pride is the way lighting displays have continued to pop up on private buildings, including more and more stores as well as private houses. That’s a secret of true civic leadership: If you can create a good thing, everyone will want to be a part of it and contribute to it. Randolph was a great place for visitors and tourists to see during December. What an impression it must have made on people seeing Randolph for the first time! Money can’t buy that kind of impression.

But speaking of money …

* * *

What made this lighting display so effective is that the organizers decided to go first class. They put up thousands of lights, not hundreds. They did the job right. And first class costs money.

Most people probably thought that a first-year expenditure would launch the lighting project for several years. However, bulbs by the dozen burn out, changes are needed, new items have to be made. The lighting committee now estimates that it will take regular expenditures of about $2000 a year to maintain this spectacular display, which has meant so much to the town in the last two years.

Several organizations have stepped prominently up to the plate during these first two years. The Randolph Chamber of Commerce, the Randolph Rotary Club, and Gifford Medical Center together have provided many of the funds needed. The downtown merchants, as should be expected, contributed. The Town spent some money to rig up some of the light pole banners. Private donors, large and small, have been generous, as well. This year’s bill was about $3100.

Such donations will have to continue. In addition, if residents want these displays to be continued and to be of continued high quality, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put a small amount in the annual Town budget for them. As long as $500 or $1000 from the Town is being generously matched by businesses and service clubs, it would be money well-spent and a tangible way of saying "Thank you" from the whole town.

The "Thank you" is surely deserved.

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