Driving east or west on downtown Warren's main drag might leave you wondering if it is really only three weeks until Christmas.
Unless you divert your attention from the road to peer into storefronts, there is virtually nothing to indicate the sort of environment that inspired "Silver Bells."
According to city officials, there are a few reasons for this: The former holiday decorations, which might not have worked on the new streetlight poles anyway, are in poor condition, and the electrical service to run them isn't there anymore.
This is an unfortuate epiphany three weeks before Christmas and a few days before the downtown is filled with people for the Christmas Parade and Walk.
There is plenty of finger-pointing going on, most of it directed at the City Building. A very vocal group of downtown merchants isn't happy. But, anger isn't going to change the situation; cooperation and innovation will.
Getting something placed on the poles in time for this Christmas needn't be a major endeavor. Some fairly inexpensive ribbons or wreaths might fill the bill for now and give Warren Main Street, its member businesses, and the city government plenty of time to come up with a more permanent solution by next year. It's too bad someone wasn't talking about this three or four months ago. Alas, tempus fugit.
Thankfully, Dan Ristau and the Warren Main Street organization are scrambling to come up with some greenery and ribbons to fill the bill at least somewhat this year.
So, while city fathers are looking at a million-dollar deficit for which taxes will need to be raised and/or significant services cut, and downtown business people are busy running their businesses, we believe a public-private partnership (yes, we said it) is indicated. Some leadership from both sides would go a long way to getting something done.