A holiday plan is already at the starting line to someday soon use lights and all kinds of Christmas displays to give Pauls Valley's train depot area the festive feel of a winter wonderland.
With the threat of COVID-19 a big part of today's reality city of PV officials decided an outdoor ice rink really wasn't the safest activity to offer over the upcoming holiday season.
Instead, the plan is possibly spend around the same amount to create a lighting package that can provide a little Christmas spirit and safely bring people into the downtown area for their holiday shopping.
City Manager James Frizell told members of the PV Tourism Board during a recent meeting a city committee looking at holiday options decided this was the best way to go, especially during a virus pandemic.
“In the past we've done a skating rink,” Frizell said about a rink using real ice the last couple of years with with an artificial ice set-up used previously.
“This year, especially with COVID, that's not a good idea. So, we're looking at making a bigger light festival in the train depot area. We still want to bring people into town but stay basically safe of COVID-19.
“This is a better option than the skating rink.”
Although the local city council has the final approval, members of the tourism board gave their OK to using up to $50,000 in tourism sales tax funding to acquire the lighting and displays, which will be the property of the city and available for use every year during the holidays.
City representative Becky Ledbetter said this will be a mix-and-match kind of thing as they're checking the prices of several vendors to figure out a specific package and cost for the project.
“It will look super magical down there that lifts spirits and helps the downtown merchants,” Ledbetter said.
“When we had the ice rink people that came commented on how magical it was; how it brought the holiday spirit to Pauls Valley.
“With COVID-19 we still want to do something for the community that's safe.
“Also with the chamber in transition we think it's important for the city to help out and fill in the gaps.”
The plan also includes adding more wreaths and other displays to the holiday decorations already at the intersection of Chickasaw and Paul streets.
As for the depot area, Frizell said from the city's perspective the idea is to use a whole lot of LED lights and Christmas decorations to create a holiday scene that brings a lot of folks to the downtown area.
Frizell compares what's coming to the holiday lighting show presented for many years at the local home of Brent Grimmett.
“Our intent is to increase traffic to the downtown area, whether by car or by foot.”
During the recent tourism meeting a report was also given on this past summer's rodeo in Pauls Valley.
Described as one of the best local rodeos in years, volunteers said a total of 959 spectators paid to see this year's event at the PV Round Up Club Arena.
• In other news, there are those in Pauls Valley already working on a plan to bring art back to the community in 2021.
Some of the plans are to possibly start placing a series of local barn quilts on local buildings, while the PV Arts Council is hoping to bring back the Fifth Friday Art Walk as early as April 2021.
That same council is also considering ways to fund a large renovation project, specifically a remodeling of the entire second floor of the PV Arts and Cultural Center located on the corner of Walnut and Paul streets.