The London Tourism and Convention Commission met Monday to take care of numerous items, including funding and planning for local events, accepting a bid for the Town Center Stage, the state of Levi Jackson renovation and the location of the 34-foot electrical Christmas tree.

The commission plans to look into if the Town Center, which is under construction in the lot on Main Street between East Ninth and Eat Maple streets, can be used to house London's new 34-foot electrical Christmas tree.

With set-up expected to follow Thanksgiving, this tree is composed of lights that display and cycle through numerous patterns and designs. By next Monday, the city will know if the electrical system will be ready in the Town Center and if the tree has the potential to hinder the ongoing construction.

If the tree cannot go in the Town Center this year, it will be on display in front of the Laurel County Courthouse. City council member Daniel Carmack suggested encouraging businesses to stay open later the day the tree is turned on. He says those visiting London Downtown to see the tree may shop at local establishments.

In other business, the commission agreed to help fund the 2020 South Laurel Boys Basketball Cardinal Classic for $5,000. The event is a basketball tournament bringing players from other schools across the region. The commission hopes this donation can help advertise the event, bringing in families who will eat, shop and stay in local establishments.

The 2020 Red Bud Ride was given $17,000 for expenses such as advertisement, food and rest stop supplies. The event is a bicycle race in April that brings cyclists in from across the country. Last year, downtown London made approximately $45,000 from the event, with one local bicycle team alone bringing 30 people. The commission is anticipating the event's continued growth.

The commission also discussed the Town Center Stage, planned to house performances in the center of the currently under construction Town Center. A bid from Craig Mullins Construction was accepted to build the stage for $154,000. The stage was designed by Deco Architects and is planned to be 20 feet high.

Also during the holiday season is the second annual New Year's Extravaganza, beginning at 9 p.m. on New Year's Eve on Main Street. Last year's event saw live music, vendors and the introduction of the midnight ball drop. This year, Nashville band Pink Cadillac is returning from Red White and Boom to perform at this year's event.

Finally, the tourism commission checked up on ongoing Levi Jackson Wilderness Road Park renovations. Park manager Joey Engle reported that staff is looking into signage to mark the park's various trails.

Walmart donated a Christmas tree to the Levi Jackson Club House. Engle brought up using the Club House for a Shop with a Cop event where kids meet Santa Claus.

dcombs@sentinel-echo.com

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