CLARION - A new group of business and property owners in Clarion wants to crank up the Christmas spirit in downtown Clarion this year.

Jim Crooks, owner of Crooks Clothing, approached Clarion Borough Council Oct. 1 and explained the Christmas plans and origin of "Destination Clarion Downtown."

"We're a group of business and property owners located between Seventh and Fifth avenues," said Crooks, but we welcome anyone."

Crooks handed out a brochure the group commissioned and distributes.

The brochure lists 13 businesses in that area.

The brochure states Destination Clarion Downtown is an organization dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the beauty and industry of Main Street.

Free holiday parking request approved

Crooks said DCD was requesting free parking in Clarion for the upcoming holiday season.

"We've talked a lot about parking with the Blueprint Committee on how to manage free parking," said Crooks. "On Main Street, there were a lot of abusers. We wanted to figure out a way to do it."

Crooks recalled talking to a man he saw last year who parked at the corner of Main Street and Sixth Avenue each day of the free parking period.

The man told Crooks he was parking there during the day and was catching a ride with a friend to work in Franklin.

Crooks said parking along Main Street is at its maximum efficiency if it rolls over at least six times.

DCD is suggesting hanging cards on the meters during the free parking period that read "Happy Holidays, Free two-hour parking from Clarion Borough Council."

DCD was seeking free parking from the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) through the end of the year.

Free parking would be borough-wide, however, parking along Main Street from Fourth to Seventh avenues and parking along Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues between Liberty and Wood streets would be limited to two hours for each vehicle.

Crooks and council members acknowledged there would be no feasible way to enforce the two-hour limit.

Council member Benjamin Aaron said he believes the suggested cards on the meters will remind motorists of the limit.

"It would be an honor system thing and I think most people would be respective of that," said Aaron. "The honor system works surprisingly well."

Council unanimously approved the free parking request.

Downtown snowflakes

There won't be any Christmas wreaths along Main Street this Christmas season and concerns about the integrity of the street lamp poles forced the borough to forgo the annual decorations.

"We heard there won't be any Christmas wreaths this year," said Crooks. "We were surprised to learn that, but we understand. We don't need any light poles falling down."

Crooks said DCD is suggesting an alternative decoration large lighted snowflake decorations.

"We think they give us a nice Christmas look," said Crooks. "We want to keep downtown as beautiful as possible."

The 36-inches tall snowflakes cost about $126 each and Crooks said DCD is not asking the borough to purchase the decoration, but only to allow their display and maybe help with hanging some of the snowflakes.

Businesses, including Crooks Clothing, will hang the decorations on their businesses or display them in windows between Fifth and Seventh avenues.

The lighting on the snowflakes cannot be red or green as to not detract from or be confused with traffic signals.

Crooks suggested council members show their support for the effort by buying a snowflake to lend to the project.

Council members Carol Lapinto and Rose Logue, along with mayor William Miller said they will donate a snowflake to the project.

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