Holiday lights are going up in Morris Park, but the effort to pay for them is just beginning.
The Morris Park Community Association has recently started its annual canvassing for contributions to the holiday light fund, which has gotten increasingly difficult over the years.
Although the lights will go up about a week before Thanksgiving, MPCA president Tony Signorile said the fundraising still has a long way to go.
The lights, which are placed at about two strands per block, for a 1.5 miles from Williamsbridge Road and Pelham Parkway to Morris Park Avenue, then down Morris Park Avenue to White Plains Road, will cost the community association between $15,000 and $17,000 this year, said Signorile.
Fundraising up and down the avenues is a big project for the MPCA volunteers, who will be visiting shops in the coming weeks, soliciting contributions, said MPCA vice president Al D’Angelo.
A good portion of neighborhood stores are happy to contribute to the decorations that light up the avenues.
“Our merchants for the most part are eager to give,” said D’Angelo.
But for some of the merchants, getting them to contribute is like pulling teeth, he said.
It’s been getting progressively more difficult to fundraise the past several years, said Signorile. The association understands that a lot of businesses are struggling, but the merchants are not being asked for large contributions.
“We need the merchant’s help,” he said.
Merchants who contribute get a ‘thank-you’ poster to place in their window, said Signorile, which he said indicates to customers that the business gives back to the neighborhood.
D’Angelo pointed out the money goes directly to the lights, and not to the association for any other use.
“The money is only to benefit the community,” he said. “It gives the neighborhood a festive atmosphere.”
The association feels it’s important to keep the tradition of the lights going, which they’ve been doing for around 35 years, said Signorile. The lights make the neighborhood look special, he said.
“When people see holiday lights, they say ‘wow,’” said Signorile.
The decorations create a warmth as the harsh winds blow in, said D’Angelo.
“When you see the lights go up, it gives you a happy feeling,” said D’Angelo.