Chair of Hawesville Beautification Committee, Paula Gray, spoke to Hawesville City Council members and Mayor Rob McCormick, voicing concerns on riverfront clean-up and this year’s Christmas decorations.
McCormick named Paula and husband, Fred, as Grand Marshals for this year’s Hawesville Christmas Parade, to acknowledge all of the work they’ve done to make the city beautiful again.
Paul asked for suggestions on completing clean-up on the riverfront. McCormick responded, “We’ve gone up there and we’ve looked. I know that our municipality department has sprayed around the rocks [rip rap]. It may take a month for (weeds, etc.) to die. I do know that Todd, our superintendent, said that it was going to happen. As far as the cars backing into the grass, we need to address that. Right now, that’s a little lower on our priority than what we’re getting ready to do in town.”
“I understand that,” Paula said, “but whenever you can get people involved with it – all you need is posts, a rope, and any kind of something to put up that will keep them off of it (the grass). Not a guardrail, but if you all wanted to use that, go ahead. I’m just trying to get it back to where it used to be and what it used to look like. Citizens can help with that.”
“We have a crew coming in on Saturday the 21st of October,” McCormick said. “They’re (Domtar) going to have a 5K Run & Walk that starts and ends at City Hall in Hawesville on October 21st. They’re running this year for Autism Advocates of Hancock County and all proceeds will be matched by Domtar (registration at 8 a.m., 5K starts at 9 a.m.) They look to have a lot of people in town.We’re trying to put some other things in the plan for that day, maybe some clean-up on the river.
We have wants and we have needs. Our needs are well above those. We have needs we’ve got to take care of with this city. Do I want to move forward with trying to get some Christmas lights and things? Yes I do. There isn’t a dime in the coffer to buy a $4K set of lights to go on one pole, unless somebody in here wants to [donate them].”
“What we’re going to do is try to put wreaths and things on the poles,” McCormick continued. “Our plan is to have a Winter Wonderland at Town Hall around the courthouse. We haven’t set the date but we do have a Christmas tree that is going to be donated. They’ll set it with the excavator right in that area to where when you come off the bridge, that’ll be the first thing you see, and we’ll have a Tree Lighting. We’ll have all kinds of lights up and that’s where we plan on passing out our gifts and the whole nine yards. It’ll be a Winter Wonderland look and all of the lights and everything for that. We’ll have hot chocolate, treats, etc. We’re doing the best we can with what we have.
We’ve been talking to the Dollar Stores that have excess from last year, and I’ve been talking to other areas. They’re giving all their small, 200 strand lights. I think the one in Lewisport had about 800 boxes of them. We reached out to Holiday World (about getting lights for poles downtown) and we had no luck with them because they’re keeping them this year. Possibly [we could get them for] next year. We’ve reached out to every city across the state that’s under GRADD, hoping that somebody was replacing their lights to where we could get their older ones and maybe revitalize them. No city can do it right now.”
Paula asked, “On top of the poles, are there still plug-ins?” McCormick said they have to get Kenergy to check every pole. She also asked about silent auctions, etc. to raise money for more Christmas decorations. “Yes, we are aloud to do that,” McCormick answered. “If you or a group wanted to take on doing something like silent auctions, you’re more than welcome to. You just have to keep count of the money and it has to be turned in. I don’t have any worry about that.
I understand that people want it to be like it was but it didn’t take a year for it to get like this. It took a long time and it isn’t going to be fixed in a year. It isn’t going to be fixed in 4 years. It’s going to take some time, Folks. I don’t believe anybody has studied these numbers as hard as some of us have. We drilled and drilled. It’s not there. I’m not going in here and raising water rates every time we need a dime. I’m not going to do those things. I want it to look beautiful too. I would say in 2025 we’ll be able to cover some wants.
Lora (Basham, Hawesville City Clerk) has gotten me all the numbers such as for the new preacher of the Hawesville Methodist Church, the pastor at the Hawesville Baptist Church and [the priest] at the Hawesville Catholic Church, and I’m going to ask all of them if they would mind talking to their congregations about having a Live Nativity up at the Courthouse maybe, along with the Tree Lighting up there. I think they’ll work with us. We could have it all in one spot and combine.”