Donor provide funds for streetlights

November 02, 1999|By ANDREA ROWLAND

CLEAR SPRING - Mary Fiery will see her Clear Spring ancestors' names in lights - or rather, on light posts.

Fiery is one of 16 donors who contributed much of the nearly $24,000 collected by the Clear Spring Garden Club for the purchase of 24 antique-like memorial streetlights for the town.

The lights will be erected in December and late Spring at the completion of each phase of the state-funded streetscape project, said Cindy Downs, president of the Clear Spring Garden Club.

Individuals donated most of the funds for the new lights, proving that "people do take pride in their community," Downs said.


The garden club originally had formulated a landscaping plan after assuming that the Town Council would order new streetlights to complement Cumberland Street's new look, Downs said.

The club's plans for colorful baskets and banners were threatened when the group discovered that the town was not planning to replace the streetlights, Downs said.

So the four-year-old garden club's founding members - Downs, Linda McNamee, Kathleen King and Marie McCafferty - decided to act.

The core group got cost estimates from Allegheny Power and approached the town council with the plan for the old-fashioned lamps, Downs said.

Mayor Paul D. Hose expressed interest, noting that the new black wrought iron streetlights resemble the old gas lamps that once graced Clear Spring streets, she said.

"It was a real positive reaction right then and there," Downs said.

The women wrote letters soliciting funds and sent them to businesses, churches and other clubs in the community, but got little response, Downs said.

The group "just about fell over" when Hagerstown Dairy Queen owner John Clopper called to purchase 10 lights in memory of his parents, she said.

"I was born in Clear Spring and my mother and father were born in Clear Spring," Clopper said. "I moved away in 1939 and came back in 1979. I thought I should do something for the town."

Clopper's donation was the turning point in the fund-raising push,

Taking the cue from Clopper's generosity, club members switched their fund-raising focus from civic organizations and businesses to individuals interested in memorials to loved ones, Downs said.

"Once we decided to go that route, we had no problem getting all 24 lights," she said. "A lot of families went in together to purchase lights."

A sixth generation member of one of Clear Spring's founding families- the Nesbitts- Fiery said she thought donating to the cause would be "the best thing to do to honor the family."

Then the club got another lucky break.

Allegheny Power, which buys in bulk from the manufacturer, offered the garden club a discount, Downs said. The cost of each light was cut by one-third, she said.

"It was really nice to send the town a letter saying it was cheaper than we originally thought," Downs said.

The town will pay the electric bill for the new lights, which the lighting company guarantees are more energy efficient and will provide better light, she said.

Lights will be placed near where the people being remembered lived or ran businesses, and will stretch from east to west along Cumberland Street, Downs said.

Placement on every corner also will ensure greater safety for pedestrians, she said.

Many financial donors asked the club to use the money saved from the discount to purchase more hanging baskets and banners, Downs said.

The state streetscaping plan includes the planting of roadside trees all along Cumberland Street except in the town center near the intersection of Md. 68 and U.S. 40, where town citizens were reluctant to relinquish parking spots, McNamee said.

The garden club plans to "add color" to this part of town by hanging flower-filled iron baskets from the new light posts there, she said.

In addition to caring for the state-planted shrubs and trees, club members will add and maintain potted plants in the area surrounding the town center, McNamee said.

A "Welcome to Clear Spring" banner will feature a Conestoga wagon, and a second Christmas banner will complement the white lights the garden club plans to wrap around the new light poles, Downs said.

"It shows that people do take pride in the community," Downs said.

The effort "says a lot about community unity," McNamee added. "It's a tight group of people."


The following is a list of donors and the dedications:

Col. Joseph Mizell - G. Merv. Mizell, teacher at Clear Spring High School 1920-1939;

Mary Fiery - In memory of Nesbitt-McDonald Family;

Glenn King - In memory of Margaret N. and William H. King;

E.S. Niemyer - In memory of Harry and Elizabeth Schnebly Family;

L.P. Snyder Fund - In memory of Leonard P. Snyder;

Lillie Davenport and Mary Lillian Frantz - Dedidcated to the Frantz Family;

Andy and Cindy Downs - Dedicated to Goldie Weller Siebert;

St. John's Church of Christ - To the Glory of God;

Grace and Johnny Downs - Donated by Grace and Johnny Downs and Family;

John Clopper (10 lights) - In loving memory of Harry C. and Ruth M. Clopper;

Don and Patty Blair - Donated by the Sierra Moreno Mercantile Company;

The Weaver Family - Lloyd P. Weaver, 1917-1985, My Hometown;

The Hawbaker Family - In memory of Crist and Hazel Hawbaker, Chrstine Funston;

The Clear Spring District Historical Society - Donated by the Clear Spring District Historical Society:

Alliene, Charles and Philip Downs - In memory of Mr. Allan Siebert, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Downs.

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