Clovis turns off city funding for Candy Cane Lane

The Fresno BeeDecember 7, 2011 

As Clovis stretched eastward in the 1970s, one of its newer neighborhoods became richly festooned for the holidays and earned the name Candy Cane Lane.

In its heyday, motorists drove through the neighborhood southeast of Clovis High School, marveling at elaborate holiday decorations. The City Council approved a resolution in 1985 proclaiming the neighborhood bounded by Sunnyside, Stanford, Beverly and Purvis avenues as Candy Cane Lane and used city funds to hang decorations on streetlights.

But this week the city officially ended its part in the program after a 5-0 vote by the City Council.

Last year, the city surveyed the neighborhood and found fewer than 40% of the homes were decorated for the holidays. Few motorists drove the streets to look at the remaining decorations.

It led the city to send letters to 120 homeowners in the area. The response was light: two emails and a phone message that largely agreed with the city's plan to end the program.

It seems Candy Cane Lane has been superseded by a newer neighborhood in northwest Clovis. These days motorists trek through the Wawona Estates subdivision near Peach and Alluvial avenues to see sights and sounds of Christmas on scores of front yards and driveways.

"I think it's probably run its course," said Larry Kubo, a 30-year resident of the old Candy Cane Lane neighborhood. "All my kids are grown up. They enjoyed it when it first started, but there are not as many kids as there used to be 20 years ago."

Kubo cut back on his decorations as his children grew up and moved out.

He estimates that only three of 10 people who lived on his block 30 years ago are still neighbors.

"When it first got started, we all did it," Kubo said. "It was fun and you would see a lot of cars coming through."

Nevertheless, he said, losing the tradition is bittersweet: "In a way it's kind of sad. You just don't see that atmosphere around here like you used to."

By ending the program, the city will save about 64 hours of staff time and about $2,000. That staff time will now be used to maintain parks, said Luke Serpa, assistant public utilities director.

The reporter can be reached at mbenjamin@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6166.

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