In 2016, The 712 Initiative donated lights to decorate the trees on the 100 Block, but after five years of tree growth and repeated usage, the lights are now worn out and in need of replacements. Unfortunately, purchasing new lights for the trees is expensive and the installation cost has increased over 700 percent.
The 712 Initiative is asking for donations to purchase new lights for the 32 trees along the 100 Block and volunteer groups to help decorate. It’s estimated to cost $3,000 to get enough lights to light the entire 100 block. A GoFundMe has been set up to collect funds for the new lights.
In the past, the 100 Block’s trees have been adorned with sparkling white lights as an easy way to add some holiday cheer to the busy downtown street. Unfortunately, the trees may not be nearly as festive as they have been in the past.
With larger trees and the lack of usable lights, it’s become too expensive to decorate without outside assistance. In past years, The 712 Initiative has worked with local small businesses using their operating budgets to contract an outside company to decorate the trees, but because of price inflation and the larger area, it has become more expensive.
In previous years, the cost to install the lights by a third-party company cost close to $2,500. With the addition of the newly planted trees and the struggling market, the price has gone from the $2,500 to $14,000.
“We all have enjoyed slowly riding through the historic 100 Block district to feel in the holiday spirit. Unfortunately, the landscaping has outgrown our original 712 light investment from 2016 and more dire is that installation has more than quadrupled,” said Sheryl Garst, CEO of The 712 Initiative.
For anyone willing to volunteer to help decorate, The 712 Initiative will be decorating on Nov. 20, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. If a group would like to decorate on a day prior to Nov. 20, they are welcome to indicate that on the sign-up form.
“Our small businesses are still recovering from a hard 2020 and we are humbly asking for the public’s help to save Christmas, so that we may enjoy a festive display in one of our most favorite destinations in Council Bluffs” said Garst.
To donate for new lights, go to the GoFundMe page found here.
To sign up to decorate a tree, go to our sign up page found here.

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