By Krystal R. Britton
City of Hinesville Public Affairs
Hinesville, GA— For many people visiting the Facebook page “You are probably from or lived in HINESVILLE if you remember…” they probably thought comments posted would remain on Facebook and just serve as a source of entertainment for those who read them. This time, things were different. One topic gained popularity among Facebook users and resulted in a fundraising campaign for colored holiday lights in Hinesville.
Currently, the Christmas tree in Bradwell Park has half of the needed lights based on its height and density. Judging from comments on the Facebook page, there are many residents who want colored Christmas lights on the tree instead of the clear ones and they are willing to assist the city with funding to get colored lights this year.
Hinesville resident Joye Middleton is a member of the group and contacted the City of Hinesville to see what she could do to assist the city in getting colored lights on the tree. A meeting was promptly scheduled for Oct. 3 for Mrs. Middleton to meet with City Manager Billy Edwards, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority Director Vicki Davis, and Hinesville Public Relations Manager Krystal Britton.
“That’s our tree,” Joye Middleton told Hinesville representatives during the meeting. “We just want to bring more spirit into the festivities and get colored lights on that tree!”
The meeting was productive, with a goal of $2,000 set to purchase colored lights for the tree and a plan established for collection of funds. The lights will be LED energy efficiency lights that do not need bulb replacement, which will assist in lowering the electricity bill during the holiday season in spite of the additional lights. Members of the Facebook group as well as members of the community will be able to make donations until Oct. 31 at the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority. The donation will be tax-deductible. Individuals can pay by cash, check, or money order and send to Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, c/o Vicki Davis, 302 South Main St., Hinesville, GA 31313. Donors also need to notate on the check or money order memo line that the donation is for "Christmas tree lights." Receipts will be provided.
“It’s great that she came in with an idea and the funding,” HDDA Director Vicki Davis said.
The tree lighting ceremony is Dec. 5 at 8 p.m. in Bradwell Park during the Christmas in the Park event, which takes place from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. in downtown Hinesville. Each person who makes a donation will be recognized at the event. If the minimum goal is not reached, funding will be reserved until enough money is raised to purchase the lights. Any donations above the minimum $2,000 will go into a Holiday Brilliance Fund for future purchases decided upon by the Holiday Brilliance Committee made up of all the donors.
“We are happy that our citizens are passionate and working with us,” City Manager Billy Edwards said.