Little Italy lights up - again!

Dec 17, 2021 266

The Little Italy and star lights, which have hung in disrepair above the neighborhood's streets, have been repaired, refreshed, and rehung by a Baltimore City crew. Councilmember Zeke Cohen was instrumental in arranging for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation to take down and rehang the lights.

"It was incredible how so many of our Little Italy neighbors and businesses, and friends who don’t even live in our community, contributed the needed funds," said Dan Sutherland Weiser, Vice President of LINA - Little Italy Neighborhood Association. Donations pledged within 72 hours covered the cost of supplies and nearly 50 people contributed time and money to the project.

Residents and friends participated in a neighborhood walk last week to look at the lights, beginning and ending at Chiapparelli’s Restaurant for an informal celebration.

"Once we purchased the supplies, it was amazing how many people stepped up to offer their time and skills to do the tedious work," said Weiser. "We especially thank lifelong neighborhood resident, Arthur Gentile, for his electrical knowledge and skills."

The old cracked wire, rusty sockets, and burned out light bulbs had to be cleared. Volunteers added sockets and new bulbs to nearly two thousand feet of new wire and attached them to their frames, taking over 130 hours of volunteer manpower over three weeks. Weiser said, "There is positive momentum in Little Italy."

The nine strands of lights, consisting of 2,355 light bulbs, strung across the streets of Little Italy, originally were installed as Christmas decorations in 1995, yet never removed. The strands have been repaired a handful of times over the years, and in 2010, people were able to "buy a bulb" for a $5 donation through the Light Up Little Italy campaign conducted by Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore, which raised repair funds.

"Many people donated in memory or in honor of their Italian ancestors," said Suzanna Molino, Director. The repair project used energy-efficient LED lights to go green and be environmentally friendly. “It was wonderful how everyone stepped up. The checks poured in, and we exceeded our $8,500 goal.”

SOURCE: Promotion Center for Little Italy, Baltimore

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