The saddest Christmas story I've encountered this year is the lack of holiday lights on Central Avenue.
From the time that I was a child until I left Phoenix in the late 1970s, decorations spanned Central downtown. You would also find the at Park Central, when it was still a mall.
Later, more compact displays were attached to the light poles along the main boulevard of the city. This continued in various reincarnations into the 2000s. But not this year.
By contrast, secular and politically correct Seattle is lit up for the holidays, from the Christmas tree and Macy's star in the heart of the downtown shopping district to trees wrapped in festive lights in nearby Belltown. Downtown remains the heart of the city. Seattle never let retail get away — despite building one of the nation's first malls and having plenty of suburban schlock. There's something very special about being able to shop downtown, mingle in the crowds, enjoy the buskers on the sidewalks, and still have two department stores — including the flagship Nordstrom — along with scores of specialty stores, from the high-end to locally owned shops and the unique Pike Place Market.
As for Central, here is the back story: Lights and banners were brought back in 2012, 2013, and 2014 by Jo Marie McDonald with the Phoenix Community Alliance, Councilman Nowakowski's office, and certain city departments. The first year many street lamps (and adapters) had to be fixed by APS because they weren't working. Last year Jo Marie was able to get corporate and individual sponsors to fund additional decorations from Camelback to around Baseline (granted there were some blank spots in-between). But good progress was made.
In 2015, Jo Marie retired, so there was no one to lead the effort from PCA's effort (since staff was down to one and some part-time help). PCA is now working to hire a new person to replace Don Keuth who is also retiring. Center city advocates hope the matter of Christmas lights will be brought up early in 2016 so funds can be raised to put them up again and even add more.
Enjoy the ice skating at CityScape. Christmas eve services are set at Central Methodist and Trinity Cathedral. Willo will have its magical luminarias lining the sidewalks. Thank you for your support of this pro bono publico blog this year and Happy Holidays.
Editor's note: As part of Rogue's continuing War on Christmas, I will be doing only one post this week.