Light Up Napoleon! Napoleon to see more, better holiday lights with your help


Story and photos by John Hummer
Exponent staff writer

Dr. Susan Sayles, owner of Brooklyn Road Veterinary Clinic, is on a mission to “Light Up Napoleon!”

The 20-year Napoleon resident has taken charge of a program, working closely with Napoleon Township, to purchase new holiday lights to decorate M-50 in the Napoleon community. The township has an account set aside for project funds and is responsible for setting up and tearing down the lights each year, tasked to its fire department. The township also houses the lights when not in use.

Dr. Susan Sayles

“You look at the other towns around here and they have beautiful light displays and ours has just started to fade,” she said. “It was really time to step up and beautify our town. Napoleon is growing and changing and we really want to show how proud we are of it by establishing some new lighting and displays for the holidays.

Previous lights have significant issues, so Sayles and her team are leading the effort to refurbish or replace the holiday lights the township currently owns.

“Many of them are quite old – some of them were purchased as far back as 40 years ago,” she said. “There have been some upgrades since then, but a lot of the lights are starting to fall into disrepair.”

The cost of a new light post LED decoration runs from $500 to $850 each, depending upon the size and design chosen. It costs $250 to $300 to refurbish one.

“We want to refurbish as many as we can to save on costs,” Sayles said. “We’re looking at LED because it is economically stable long-term and environmentally good as well.”

The township currently has 15 sites for lights to be placed, so Sayles has set a goal of raising over $10,000 by Jan. 1 to refurbish or replace all the township’s decorative lights. If the fundraising goal isn’t reached by year-end, the effort will continue into next year, she said.

The Light Up Napoleon! effort will have fish bowl drop boxes around town to make it easy for people to donate to the cause, including one right at her clinic.

Sayles would also like to purchase a holiday display for the corner of M-50, Austin Road, and West Street where an old chamber of commerce sign is currently located.

“It’s a beautiful corner that could have something really nice that everyone could see as they drive by – a ground display of some sort,” she said. Sayles would also like to get a display for the township offices.

Sayles is meeting with township officials to ensure what she and her team want to do fits with township requirements and needs.

“I’ll be working with them to figure out exactly what they need,” she said. “That’s the whole idea – to help the township and provide them with something that will work with what we already have – as far as electricity and our set-up.”

Sayles said she has gotten quotes from Bronner’s in Frankenmuth, Mich., where most of the commercial Christmas lighting in Michigan comes from.

“They can refurbish the ones we already have, but that probably won’t be done until after this holiday season,” she said. “They strip the current lights off and put new LED lights on.”

In the meantime, Sayles wants to purchase a few new ones to get things started this year. The Brooklyn Road Veterinary Clinic is donating $2,000 toward the project.

“I’m hoping to get at least three new lights with what we’re willing to donate,” she said.

Sayles has sent out letters to all local businesses in Napoleon, she promoted the effort at the school open house at the start of the year, and is promoting the project to the community at all of Napoleon’s home football games.

Sayles said there is also the possibility of adding some banners beneath the lights that could potentially be used in other seasons as well, and she has received feedback from community members saying that lights with more of a winter theme could be enjoyed longer.

“With the new Napoleon Corners, everything is growing,” Sayles says proudly. She moved her own business closer to town about two years ago and built a brand-new building.

 “Napoleon is really sprucing up – and that’s a good thing.”



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