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Merry Christmas in March

Candy canes, snowmen and Christmas wreaths -- in March?

Just in time for spring, a stretch of 80th Street is getting decked out in Christmas spirit this week as Cottage Grove officials seek input from residents on holiday banners intended to dress up the city's main commercial areas come December.

Sample banners were to begin going up on streetlight poles along 80th Street between Cottage Grove City Hall and Park High School, said Mayor Myron Bailey. Vendors the city is considering provided the test banners.

"It's trying to dress up some of the business areas during the holidays," Bailey said.

It is expected, he said, that the holiday banners would go up in Cottage Grove's commercial corridors, along routes like 80th Street and East Point Douglas Road.

And though residents likely have sunny days on their minds more than Santa Claus, Bailey said the city wants residents to vote on their favorites by logging onto Cottage Grove's Facebook page.

The festive banners are an Economic Development Authority initiative, and will be paid for through fundraising and from the authority's fund, Bailey said. No tax dollars will go toward the decorations, he said.

Public works labor will be the only recurring cost of the holiday banners to the city, the mayor said.

Bailey said the banners will remain up for a few weeks, then the votes will be tallied and the cost of the Facebook fan favorites will be reviewed.

The most expensive decoration being considered? A lighted wreath going for $300 each, Bailey said.

"It's about how do you dress the city up a little bit to get that holiday feeling?" said Bailey, an avowed Christmas light fanatic.