Downtown holiday lights not shining bright

Posted at 6:27 PM, Dec 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-08 18:27:46-05

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. –- The city of West Palm Beach budgeted $60,000 this year for the light display at the downtown waterfront. The animation is working as planned, but when it comes to the 40 trees wrapped in white lights it’s a different story. Monday night only two trees were lit, the other 38 were dark.

“The city does this beautiful holiday display every year down here at the waterfront and it wraps all the palm trees with lights," explained Jessie Bailey.

"They even strung the fronds with the white lights, said Susan Landeryou. "It's magical when they're all it. It's so beautiful. It's like a fairy tale."

"Unfortunately for the past week or so most of these palm trees haven't really been working or have been working intermittently," Bailey said.

Bailey and Landeryou are both on the Board of Directors for the Downtown Neighborhood Association and point out the city strung the lights the week before Thanksgiving.

"They worked for two or three nights all of the lights and since then they've dwindled," Landeryou said.

As of Monday night only two trees were lit.

Bailey says he and his wife noticed a similar scene Sunday night during a walk along the waterfront. "We've noticed that trees that were lit up started short out or weren't working overtime more and more," Bailey explained. "Unfortunately when it's not lit up it's kind of a letdown."

Jeff Green with the city of West Palm Beach told us one problem is people unplugging the lights to access a power source. Landeryou says the city shared the same issue with her, "I called the city to ask what was going on and I was told that vagrants are unplugging many of them."

Another issue keeping the downtown waterfront in the dark has to do with weathered electrical boxes. The city is repaired most of the outlets today, meaning we should see more than two trees lit when the sun goes down.

"Honestly it's like a fairyland when they're all lit up," Landeryou said. "It is so beautiful it's really an emotional feeling."

In addition to repairing the electrical boxes, the city also installed locks around the power outlets.