After dog is shocked, city of Steamboat pulls plug on downtown holiday tree lights |

After dog is shocked, city of Steamboat pulls plug on downtown holiday tree lights

Holiday lights grace downtown Steamboat Springs in February as traffic moves along Lincoln Avenue.
Scott Franz

— Lincoln Avenue won’t shine quite as bright this holiday season.

City officials said because of an electrical problem, they had to pull the plug on the holiday lights that grace the trees on several blocks of the busy downtown street.

And without an easy fix to the problem, the lights aren’t likely to be turned on again this winter season.

The danger of the lighting system was on display recently when a dog was shocked by a metal grate below one of the trees due to the current from the tree lights.

The city reported the dog was OK following the incident.

Mainstreet Steamboat Springs Manager Tracy Barnett said the safety concerns outweigh the added ambiance and magic that the lights provide downtown.

“I’m sure people will miss them, but it’s just a matter of timing, and they will be back,” Barnett said.

In a recent memo to the Steamboat Springs City Council, City Manager Deb Hinsvark reported that the tree lighting circuitry has reached the end of its useful life and is beyond repair.

Anne Small, the city’s director of general services, said Thursday that the city wanted to add some additional grounding to the system to try and fix it this season.

But she said the city cannot do the fix because many of the electrical conduits the city has been using to light the trees were crushed when improvements were made to Lincoln Avenue a few years ago.

The city hopes to have a solution in place before next holiday season.

The electrical problem won’t spoil all of downtown’s holiday ambiance.

The city still has an array of decorations up on light posts and large snowflake-shaped holiday lights above the highway that are able to run on a separate electrical system.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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