Rusk Chamber kicks off lighting fundraising efforts
Rusk Chamber of Commerce Vice President Mark Raiborn, center, accepts a $500 donation from the Daily Grind owner Rachel Loden recently. Also pictured, from far left are Daily Grind employees LaDonna Sparkman, Emily Duke, Billie Seeton and Karen Loden.
Fundraising efforts for improving the holiday lighting around the courthouse square in downtown Rusk have begun.
Rusk Chamber of Commerce’s Keep Rusk Beautiful committee and the Daily Grind coffee shop and cafe kicked off the drive last week, when the cafe offered a ‘Christmas in July’ lunch deal -- featuring a traditional home-cooked holiday meal. Eatery owner Rachel Loden donated half the proceeds of the special meal to the Rusk Chamber of Commerce’s Keep Rusk Beautiful fund.
“We appreciate everything the Daily Grind and all our Chamber members do to help support our efforts and programs,” Chamber Manager Josie Fox said. “We truly could not do this without any of our members or our community’s assistance.”
Chamber Vice President and KRB Chair Mark Raiborn said plans to relight the square for the Christmas holiday were temporarily put on hold after the Corona-virus pandemic hit.
“We’re on track with a five-year plan now and are excited about upgrading lights around the square -- going bigger and better than ever,” Raiborn said. “We know we probably won’t be able to do everything this first year, but this is getting us started.”
KRB is working with Rusk Police Chief Stephen Hughes, who, for more than a decade, has decorated his home on Easy Street in Rusk for various holidays with computer-synchronized, color-changing LED lights.
“We want to do something similar to what Chief Hughes does at his house on the square,” Raiborn said.
An estimated 400 linear feet of lights are needed for each side of the square.
“The plan is to be able to leave them up all year,” Raiborn explained. “Since they’ll be color-changing, we can use them for different holidays, for sporting events and more.”
A total $6,000 has been donated already. After pricing equipment, Raiborn said KRB’s tentative goal is $10,000.
Rusk residents can donate to the KRB fund via their monthly water bills; or by mailing donations to the Rusk Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 67, Rusk, TX 75785.
Kent Stanley STS Tree Service has pledged the use of his lift to install the new lights, Raiborn said, and Rusk Public Works Director Neill Holcomb is assisting with the logistics of getting power to the new lights.
Raiborn said volunteers are desperately needed to get the square decorated this year, too, as the Community Work Squad from the local Texas Department of Criminal Justice units will not be available, due to the virus.
“We’re going to need all the help we can get,” he said.
To volunteer to help or serve on the KRB committee, contact Mark Raiborn, (903) 683-9518 or the Chamber, (903) 683-4242.
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