NEW ALBANY — A New Albany neighborhood came together this weekend to spread some holiday cheer.
Residents at Meadow Lane —a street near Slate Run Road — presented the first “Light Up the Lane” event Saturday as they decorated and illuminated a tall tree at the end of the street.
Neighbor Anna Petry had the idea for the “Light Up the Lane” event, and she got help from others in the neighborhood to make it happen. Her home is across from the tree, located in the middle of the cul-de-sac.
“For years, we’ve been mentioning how cool it would be to light up the tree…but we never acted, and we needed assistance getting it lit,” Petry said.
Neighbors purchased lights, and they initially approached the New Albany Fire Department and the City of New Albany to see if they could get some help in lighting up the tree. When that failed, Petry said she was about to give up on the idea.
However, another neighbor decided to rent a lift from Home Depot, and last Saturday, they put up the Christmas lights in the rain and repainted the flag pole by the tree.
Neighbors offered to chip in money to split the costs of the Christmas tree display. Petry said she put invitations in neighbors’ mailboxes and invited them to bring ornaments to adorn the lower branches of the tree.
At the “Light Up the Lane” event, about 30 to 40 people showed up to watch the lighting of the tree while wearing masks and social distancing, Petry said. People sang Christmas carols, and Petry’s daughter served individually-packaged cupcakes.
Josh Turner, a member of New Albany City Council who represents District 5, came to the event with his wife, Jessica, and their two children, Lucas and Joleen.
“It meant a lot to me,” he said. “I think we’re missing engagement in our neighborhoods, and to see neighborhoods come together — especially in a time like this — is great,” he said.
Kate Caufield moved into the neighborhood with her family 16 years ago. She appreciates the bond the neighbors have with one another, she said, and she is part of a group text with neighbors so they can stay connected.
Saturday’s event allowed neighbors to talk, laugh and spend a little time together, she said.
“This particular group really comes together and makes every holiday special,” Caufield said.
“Light Up the Lane” is just one of the ways the neighborhood has come together during the COVID-19 pandemic. A sign saying “We Are All In This Together” sits at the foot of the tree.
At the start of the pandemic, neighbors gathered for prayers at the flagpole, and at Easter, neighbors presented their own service with someone playing hymns on a keyboard.
Saturday’s event was a way for neighbors to reflect on the “reason for the season” and show the importance of love and kindness, Petry said.
“Our street is an older street, and we do have several people who have been on the street 40-plus years and a younger crowd as well,” Petry said. “It’s nice to see people come together regardless of who they voted for and what their beliefs are — we can just come together, be neighbors and enjoy the season.”