Recently, I received a question from a resident regarding Heritage Park. She wanted to know whether or not the park would be closed again this year for the holiday light show. As she correctly pointed out, “The past two years, the city has closed the entire park for about a three month period to accommodate the holiday light show. Last year, the park closed starting around October 12th and remained closed until about January 15th. This is about a 13-week period, so a full 25% of the calendar year.”
As I told her in my response, “Let me start by saying that I agree with you: closing a public park for a quarter of the year is unacceptable.” And I’m not the only one. Many residents agree, and they’ve voiced their concern over the past year. When I reached out to Mr. Robbie Davis, Parks and Recreation Director, he said he’d heard and understood this concern and was already working with TRZ to try to keep the park open to the public as long as possible. TRZ did its part by negotiating with the company responsible for the light show to try to keep the park open longer, with the goal being to close it no longer than one month. Ultimately, they were unable to reach an agreement to that end, and TRZ decided to forego the holiday lights show this year.
In the words of Mr. Roger Dickson from TRZ, the “park being closed that long for taxpayers is just not the right thing to do.” And I agree. It’s a public park; it’s your park. If it’s closed to all but paying customers for an entire quarter of the year, you’re not getting to make use of your park.
So unfortunately there will be no holiday light show this year, but the park will be open for you, the public, to use…just as it was intended.