Last week, the remnants of decade-old holiday lights in downtown Northport that had mostly blown out or had been strangling trees were taken down. There was just one problem: The village didn’t have the funds to replace them.
But two anonymous local families have stepped up to help the village keep its festive feel.
“We keep the lights on year round. It’s a piece of the quaint village of Northport,” said Debi Triola, president of the Northport Chamber of Commerce. “To not have them would be upsetting to the community. The lights lining Main Street, the gazebo and harbor are a part of Northport.”
Replacing all of the lights would cost about $36,000, Triola estimates. The chamber plans to organize a fundraiser in March for future maintenance, but to get things started, two Northport families, who both wish to remain anonymous, have donated more than half the amount to the village to bring the lights back.
“One donor is a fourth-generation family in Northport that has contributed with anything the village needs,” Triola said. “When the community needs something they’re there. They wrote out the check because they felt they couldn’t have the village go dark.”
That check was in the amount of $18,000. The second family donated $1,500.
Village Trustee Damon McMullen said at least 20,000 feet of lights are needed to completely replace the old lights, but he has so far managed to only get 8,600 feet from a company in Texas because it’s late in the season, he said.
The new lights have been already strung from the gazebo and the rest will decorate the dock and park. The remaining lights will line part of Main Street.
“We’ll put up what we have,” he said. “The remaining balance of donations will be put into a trust until we can get more lights. These are commercial-grade lights that last years. They aren’t what people put up on houses. If I can get more, we’ll put more up.”
McMullen, born and raised in Northport, said residents grew fond of the lights, but it got to the point where the lights weren’t salvageable anymore and were hurting the trees.
“I think people will be very happy to see that many of the lights are back up,” he said. “They’re going to all come back, it just may take some time.”