South Boston Leaders Cutting Back on Christmas Decorations

South Boston, VA - Officials in South Boston are finalizing changes to their Christmas decorations, and that's brought mixed reviews.

Lights in the Bradford pear trees that line Main Street have been a holiday staple in the town for decades. Now, the town is hoping to save money by cutting back.

Town Manager Ted Daniels says the trees will still have lights around their trunks, but the beautiful canopies that lit the sky at night in past years will be bare.

The town will save $10,000 but not everyone is convinced it's a good deal.

Karen Price works at Cafe Peronni on Main Street. She says she looks forward to the town's Christmas decorations every year, but this year, she is not as eager.

"Kind of like a little child would be with less presents under the tree. I was very disappointed," she said.

The trees have gotten so big that the town must hire a contractor to string the lights in the canopies. By just stringing lights around the trunks, the town can save tax dollars and manpower.

"It's a lot of effort to put them up and it's a lot of effort to take them down," said Daniels.

Daniel says the town just spent thousands of dollars replacing old bulbs with LEDs, so the lights that are up will shine brighter than ever.

"I think our community appreciates the fact that we're trying to save money where we can but not take away from the spirit."

Some business owners on Main Street actually think cutting back on decorations is a good thing in this economy.

"If it will save the town $10,000. It may not be quite the 5th Avenue effect but I think it will be terrific," said John Lantor, owner of Lantor's.

But others still aren't convinced.

"I think that's a small price to pay to make our town look beautiful," said Price.

The decision has been made for this year's decorations, but Daniel says the town will take the residents into consideration when deciding future plans.

"We'll go through this Christmas season and if the community wants those canopies lit again, I'm sure the Town Council will be back listening to that," he said.

One business owner suggested that the town leave the lights around the trunks year round to add to the city's evening ambience well after the holidays. A few test trees have already been decorated and the rest will be lit by Thanksgiving.