Holiday decorations will go up along US 2
October 21, 2020
By TOM LAVENTURE
Ironwood - A lot of time and effort has gone into beautifying the downtown but some of that love is now going to the Ironwood business route along U.S. 2, thanks to some holiday ornaments courtesy of the Ironwood Tourism Council.
The city is a partner with the Ironwood Tourism Council, which has provided funds to purchase holiday ornaments in an effort to create a sense of destination, said Tim Erickson, a community development specialist for the city of Ironwood. The focus on downtown has always been strong and with many businesses along U.S. 2, and as the entrance to the community, there was a concerted effort to beautify the corridor.
"This will help start to spread the focus around and help the entire community," Erickson said.
The city has ordered around 30 snowflake shaped ornaments that will be placed on every other light pole along U.S. 2 from city boundaries in the east and west, he said. There will be city banners on every other pole alternating with the ornaments.
"The ornaments will be up through the winter season," Erickson said. "Depending on how it works more ornaments could be purchased in the future to have one on every pole."
The snowflakes are 5 feet in diameter and are LED lighted. The city has consulted with Xcel Energy Inc., which owns the poles and provided display guidelines and permissions.
"The LED lighted snowflakes should last for 10 years or more," Erickson said.
The ornaments will be installed sometime in November by city Department of Public Works crews, he said. This will be around the same time the wreaths will be going up downtown.
A portion of Erickson's work is dedicated to Travel Ironwood, the city's promotional office, which is funded by Ironwood Tourism. He said the tourism council has expressed interest in decorating the heavily traveled U.S. 2 corridor for some time as a way to set a better impression for travelers.
"Part of their role is to just make Ironwood a better destination and so this is in line with that," Erickson said of the tourism council. "It will make the corridor more appealing for people visiting or passing through."
With all of the area hotels and motels on U.S. 2, it makes sense to beautify that corridor, he said. The downtown has had wreaths on the poles for many years. The timing is right for decorating U.S. 2 with all of the new poles that have been installed with the road reconstruction a few years ago.
Another factor that led to the U.S. corridor beautification effort sooner than later were the recommendations from participants in a First Impressions study that was conducted by Michigan State University's Extension Community, Food and Environment Institute. The study sent visitors to Ironwood in 2019 who reported on their experiences and offered suggestions.
"We talked about this with the first impression tour a year ago." Erickson said. "They talked about sprucing up the key corridors and that was part of their assessment of our community as well."
In addition to holiday ornaments the city is looking at permanent improvements on the corridor that will let drivers know when they are entering and departing Ironwood on U.S. 2. Welcome to Ironwood signs will be placed on city border entrances near the rest stop at the Wisconsin border in the west, and between Easy Street and the entrance to Keweenaw Land Association in the east.
"We're hoping to be completed with that next summer," Erickson said.
For more information on Travel Ironwood visit travelironwood.com or their Facebook and Tik Tok pages.