Over the years Jonesboro has been known for several iconic things. At one time it was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest unbroken sidewalk in the nation. The paper mill (actually located in Hodge) also made news years ago by being home to the largest paper machine ever built.
More recently Jonesboro has laid claim to having the most Christmas lights of a town its size and the annual Christmas Wonderland in the Pines festival has drawn thousands who come to witness the incredible display of down town at night. According to a statement issued recently by Mayor Leslie Thompson this too will be a thing of the past.
“The Town of Jonesboro has a rich tradition of lighting up the town during the Christmas season. As we are living in unprecedented times, at some point everything goes through changes. It is most unfortunate that the town is financially unable to support the Christmas lighting at the same level as in previous years. No one enjoys the lights more than my family and me, but in order to keep essential city services operating; the budget is unable to sustain lighting as in previous years.”
“We have met with the Chamber of Commerce on several occasions to suggest alternatives to the town bearing the majority cost for the lighting as in the past. We suggested that each business would decorate their own storefront, use volunteers, or contract with someone to decorate for them. The town would be willing to decorate the boulevard and other public spaces (along Hwy 167) which would be at a minimal cost. In an effort to assist local businesses, the town has agreed to provide lights, which are owned by the town, to businesses which request them.”
“Putting up Christmas lights costs the Town of Jonesboro approximately $112,813 including staff time and expenses for equipment and supplies. In return the town recoups about $6,000 from businesses paying to put up lights, and there is no real change in the amount of sales taxes during this period. We lose money every year but have continued to foot the bill because the town was in a more financially secure position prior to 2020.”
“As always, we are willing to work with the Chamber to make things happen for the citizens of the Town of Jonesboro. These are difficult and unusual times for everyone and no one regrets more than me that we are unable to light up the town at Christmas. I hope and trust that as you see the numbers here, you will agree that the decision we have made to work with the Chamber to provide minimal lighting was the right decision for all of the citizens of the Town of Jonesboro.”
Thanks for your understanding in this matter.