Will lights in the Heights stay lit?
Ever since the 2010 edition of Lights in the Heights drew record crowds, along with the concomitant problems with crowd control, the Woodland Heights Civic Association has begun looking at ways to address issues associated with the event’s growing popularity.
The WHCA will hold a special Lights in the Heights meeting at Zion Lutheran Church, 3606 Beauchamp at Pecore, Saturday, June 18, at 9:30 a.m. to discuss these issues, among them perhaps being LITH’s continued existence. In 23 years, Lights in the Heights has grown from a small neighborhood holiday block party to a tens-of-thousand-strong, free lights and music extravaganza, which is understandably causing more than a little concern.
Saturday’s meeting is the third in a series that began in February, when the association held talks with officials from the City of Houston about growth issues and areas of shared concern. Then on May 21, a smaller meeting was held that further refined the discussions into six broad topics. In an e-mail announcing the meeting, these included:
Norhill Esplanade: Eliminate activities at the esplanade to reduce the crowding and those that just hang out.
Parade: Eliminate the parade to reduce number of people who come to LITH.
Ticketing: Enforcement of city ordinances (underage drinking, parking violations).
Time: Change the event to another night.
Organizing principles: Draft general rules and guidelines for residents having private parties to help with security concerns, party crashing, and entertainment/band control on the route.
Under wraps: Plan and execute a no-marketing campaign (call and ask editors/media to not promote LITH).
At Saturday’s meeting, alternatives will be drafted to present to the board then to all residents of Woodland Heights. Of course, not everyone can attend every meeting, so if you can’t make it, but would like to let your voice be heard, submit any comments or suggestions to email@example.com. Just remember, for the e-mail to be brought up for discussion, it must include the sender’s name and address.
My personal feeling is that it would be a crying shame to lose what has become an amazing, amazing event, easily one of the most fun holiday events anywhere. That being said, I moved out of the Woodland Heights and into the Houston Heights in 1998, so my status as a “stakeholder” here is suspect in the highest degree. I am a classic end-user. It’s not my yard being trampled, littered and peed on, and not my party being crashed by drunk strangers. So I completely understand all sides of this issue and hope the discussion continues in the neighborly, expansive spirit that has always characterized Lights in the Heights (not to mention the Heights in general). I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.
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