EDITOR’S NOTE: Contributing columnist, Steve Nicklas, expresses his views and insights on various topics in Marketplace column.
___ STEVE’S MARKETPLACE ____
It seems the three Fernandina Beach city commissioners who had the bright idea to replace the twinkling tree lights in downtown with dim, obstructive ground lights are standing their ground. It appears Susan Steger, Tim Poynter and Eric Childers are not going to revisit the noticeable changes to Centre Street that they approved by a 3-2 vote.
The not-so-bright idea has turned the angelic, festive atmosphere in downtown into one of shadows and slight light. The move to replace the tree lights with ground lights was sold as a way of saving money. The city feels it will recoup (in five years) the $42,000 it paid to have the ground lights installed in the various flower beds.
Not only are the lights too dim, they illuminate only the trunks of the trees in the flower beds. This is hardly acceptable — given the festive nighttime mood set by the twinkling tree lights. And people near and far are noticing.
One local resident was attending a reunion in Massachusetts when she ran into an old friend. Upon hearing the resident lives on Amelia Island, the old friend proceeded to say much she and her family enjoy spending the holidays at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel here.
The friend’s face lit up in describing the charming historic downtown area here, “And those twinkling lights in the trees,” she chirped. Oops. The twinkling lights are no longer with us. At least unless the issue resurfaces before the city commission again.