LAYTON -- The lone dark spot in the city's popular holiday lighting display will have light this year.
City officials extended the underground electricity in order to light a new section of Layton Commons Park near Constitution Circle. When they turn on the annual lights on Nov. 21, the area that used to be dark will now have lights in the trees and new lighted animals on the ground.
"Two years ago we put in a new archway at start of Constitution Circle, and that proved to be extremely popular because it blinks different colors and has a rhythmic pattern," said Dave Price, parks and recreation department director. "When we put that up we noticed that there was a dark spot before you got to the more traditional lights. This fills in that gap."
Price said an average of close to 800 vehicles visit the lights per night, with a total of more than 25,000 vehicles for the season. With an average of 3.5 people per vehicle, that is 87,000 people who will visit the lights this year.
"We believe that by creating the display slowly and keeping it free to the public, it provides a wonderful service to the city of Layton and surrounding communities," Price said.
Crews started setting up the display, which features 140 lighted animals, on Sept. 1.
Layton set aside $8,000 this year for the holiday lights, a number Price said is consistent with the amount in recent years.
"I have never received any negative feedback (about the money set aside for the lights) and I do believe it's simply because of the way we run our budget and how fiscally sound we operate," said Mayor Steve Curtis. "I think people understand and know this is something we don't go in debt for, something that is well planned and that we are not being excessive with our means."
On Jan. 3, crews will take down the display and spend the next three months repairing the structure of a third of the animals. They will also relight the animals that need new bulbs. Price said that the city has moved away from traditional bulbs and purchased LED lights, which save money since the bulbs last much longer.
Price said that the city adds a few new animals each year in order to help the exhibit grow as well as reward those families who return to the display each year.
"That plays in mind with our general philosophy, in regards to planning ahead for expenditures," Curtis said. "It's better to do it when we can afford it and pay for it then."
City officials will turn the lights on at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 21, following a free holiday program in the Layton High School Auditorium, which begins at 6 p.m.