Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan wants to the pull the plug on the popular Christmas and holiday light display held annually in Albany's Washington Park.  Capital Holiday Lights in the Park has been around since 1997 and while the festive spirit it brings to Albany is a welcomed sight by many, some residents and business owners say otherwise. The Mayor thinks that the drive-thru light show has "outgrown the area" where it's been held for 24 years,  and wants it moved to a more convenient and efficient location according to a report from the Times Union.
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The TU reports that if holiday lights were to move, a more ideal location would be the Harriman state office campus off of Washington Avenue Extension.

According to the report, the Mayor did not hold back when talking about the the logjam created on weekend nights when cars are backed up waiting to get into the annual event that funnels tens of thousands of dollars into Albany's Police Athletic League.  “The sheer volume of traffic … it’s unacceptable,” Sheehan said according to the Times Union.

As someone who lives in center square, I look forward to the tradition of Capital Holiday Lights in the Park and this year with Covid, it's pretty much been the one night out that our family could enjoy.

We not only love to drive through the display, but the lights really make the park look special for the 38 days they're lit.   Some residents and business owners legitimately have an issue with some of the gridlock is causes,  but I think losing it to another part of Albany would do more harm than good.  It would not only leave an aesthetic void in center square, it would send thousands of carloads to another part of Albany effectively ruining any chance of local businesses to capitalize on the sheer amount of people in brings to the area.

According to the Times Union, city Common Council Rich Conti explains that some of the issued caused by the popularity of Lights in the Park is, "contrary to everything we’ve been trying to do to encourage walkability and make the park and the surrounding neighborhoods pedestrian-friendly."
I would make the argument that there are a plethora of things that patrons, residents and business owners find challenging when it comes to visiting, living, and doing business in  center square.  The lack of parking, the dirt bikes and crime are reason enough to keep people away.
I've never heard anyone say they want out of this area - or will never come to it - because of Christmas lights.

 

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