LANSING | Some village residents dislike the idea of a mobile Santa House, feeling it would detract from the village’s annual Christmas holiday celebrations.
Count Village Trustee Tony DeLaurentis among them.
DeLaurentis said at Tuesday's Village Board meeting he wants officials to build a permanent structure to replace the Santa House that has been at 3606 Lake St., since 1975.
Village officials want to use the site as parking space for businesses in the Ridge Road downtown district. Lansing Area Chamber of Commerce officials, who have operated a Santa House for the past 51 years, have said they are considering a portable structure that could be transported around Lansing during the holidays.
But DeLaurentis said, to him, one of the advantages of the Santa House is that it is near the village’s official Christmas tree on Ridge Road at Henry Street.
“People can go to see the tree, then take their kids to the Santa House," DeLaurentis said. “Meanwhile, they’re on Ridge Road and getting a chance to see the many businesses located there.”
DeLaurentis also said he was upset the Chamber of Commerce was planning to hold initial meetings about the future of Santa House in private. He said he wishes they would seek public input from the beginning of the process.
He also said he’s not alone — he has heard from many residents who say they don’t like the idea of a portable Santa House.
“Everybody who’s upset, we should get ahold of the chamber,” DeLaurentis said.
Village President Norm Abbott said while the property used by the Santa House is village-owned, the future of the structure will be in the hands of the Chamber of Commerce, which is negotiating with the Lan-Oak Park District about the availability of a site just south of the official village Christmas tree.
“They’re talking to the park district about a site. We’ve turned this over to them,” Abbott said.
Village Administrator J. Wynsma said municipal government’s involvement in the Santa House of the future might be to store the structure if it turns out to be a temporary one that can be moved from site to site.
“We’ll support them, whatever they do,” he said.