8:18 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Holidays expected to remain bright in Elmwood Village

Despite widespread reports, city officials say they are not looking to pull the plug on a holiday tradition in Buffalo's popular Elmwood Village shopping district.

To help create that holiday feeling, business owners along Elmwood have been stringing up lights in the trees in front of their establishments for nearly 20 years and plugging them into city-owned light poles.

"There's a couple of concerns," Steve Stepniak, Buffalo Commissioner of Public Works, told WBFO News.

"It's not just Elmwood Avenue that we're looking at, we're looking at citywide where, unfortunately, they don't use the proper equipment. They'll use indoor extension cords outdoors and things like that. Or they'll hang some of apparatus a little bit too low where it could cause an issue."

"We're discussing those guidelines and how to make it a safe and friendly area for everybody involved."   

The guidelines caused a stir because they include requiring businesses to hire a licensed electrician and take out liability insurance of at least $1 million.

Even though the rules may be broken, Stepniak says the city has no intention of removing the holiday lights.

"We're going to allow them to stay. What we're going to do is work through these issues as we do with other groups and just make it an attractive area with the lights and a safer one."