San Jacinto Plaza has been dark for three years as it underwent a complete renovation. This will be the first year that the Plaza will be lit up for Christmas since the completion. Earlier this week, El Paso City Council discussed decorations for the Plaza and how much they will cost.

Thankfully, Council decided against the all-white, Victorian themed proposal, but they also decided that they want to buy all new decorations and lights because they say the ones we have now are not in line with the new Plaza. Perhaps before we spend a proposed $142,000 on new decorations, the City should use the old ones this year and ask the public how they think the traditional decorations look in the newly renovated Plaza.

The City didn’t say what would become of the old decorations, but hopefully they won’t end up in the trash. Maybe they could auction them off or put them in another park in the city, or maybe even give them to the County to use at Ascarate Park.

Council also approved spending $116,000 on an outside contractor to design, buy and install new lights and decorations for the plaza. It seems weird to pay people to do that when we have a Parks Department that could be used for that purpose. I still don’t see how paying the Parks Department salaries and an outside contractor will be a good use of taxpayer money.

As for how the decorations will look, City reps Cortney Niland and Lily Limon said they want the contractor create a festive display that's representative of El Paso's culture and community. That sounds great, but let’s keep it traditionally Christmas. Whenever the word ‘culture’ comes into play, things tend to get out of control. The city may be predominantly Hispanic, but that doesn’t mean it has to override the kind of traditional Christmas décor that San Jacinto has always had.