Lawton_Last Friday was the opening day of Lawton's Holiday in the Park. It was a big move from the Boulevard of Lights on Gore and got some mixed reactions from the people of Lawton. Some loved and others say there weren't enough lights and that they shouldn't have moved it in the first place.
7News investigated why they made the big move and what can be done to improve the display. It turns out that the park is only wired for so much electrical usage. And, they need more sponsors to add displays.
Although some really like the move to Elmer Thomas Park - others really don't. Maudie Bloss and Chris Held exercise at the park every day and were excited when they heard about the new holiday attraction - until they saw it. "Really disappointed on all the lights - I figured they'd have a little more because they had a lot more on Gore, when they had the Boulevard of Lights there," says Bloss.
But, Lawton Parks and Recreations Director Kim Shahan says expectations are a little too high for a first year project. "I think what people are saying in terms of what they feel like its lacking is that they have in their minds and 18 year process of a development of a lighting project on the boulevard of lights that was not able to sustain itself after 18 years," he says.
It's one of the reasons it was moved to the park. Shahan says there weren't enough volunteers to help put up lights and displays on the Boulevard every year. At Elmer Thomas, sponsors are responsible for the decorations - putting them up, maintaining them, and taking them down. This way, it really is a community effort.
"It will probably become one of the premiere holiday lighting projects in southwest Oklahoma," says Shahan. And Bloss says even though she's not happy with the park this year, she thinks it'll get better over time. "I know it's going to take a while," she says. "It's going to take at least a couple of years. But, I've been here all my life and I think we've come a long way...so, I look forward to it."
And remember, the city pays for all the electricity used for the displays at the park and they're getting four more transformers to supply the park with more power for next year's event and more year round security.