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Downtown park will have new Christmas decorations

Monday, October 13, 2008

(Photo)
Jonathon Helm, a senior in Adam Rodden's welding class at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center, puts a final weld on one of the city's new Christmas decorations before sending it off to be painted.
(Photos by Scott Welton, Staff)
HMDG got inspiration from East Prairie's decorations

SIKESTON -- Sikeston's downtown park will sport new Christmas decorations thanks to inspiration from a neighboring town and some community spirit.

"The design committee of the Historic Midtown Development Group was looking into getting some new Christmas decorations for the downtown. One of the committee members had heard about decorations the East Prairie High School welding class had done for the city of East Prairie," said Jiggs Moore, HMDG committee member and parks division director for the city. "We thought maybe that would be something we could do here, too."

(Photo)
Pictured in the front row, from left, are Jonathon Helm, Justian Gray and Brandon Morlan, seniors in Adam Rodden's welding class at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center. Second row: Rodden; Melissa Leible, chair of the Historic Midtown Development Group's design committee; Brandon Kuehn, executive director of the HMDG; and Jiggs Moore, HMDG committee member and parks division director for the city.
After meeting with East Prairie officials to look over their decorations to "kind of get an idea for a pattern," Moore said, "the city was nice enough to let me borrow one to bring over here and show Mr. Rodden at the Sikeston High School."

Adam Rodden, the welding teacher at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center, said he was contacted about the project around the first of August. "They wanted to know if we were interested," he said.

Rodden and his students saw it as a great opportunity.

"It's good practical work experience for the students whenever the city calls and gives them the chance to apply what they've learned instead of just practicing," Rodden said. "They were excited to do it and worked hard on it. The city gave us the plans, a general idea of what they wanted, and the students and I came up with some measurements for three different sizes."

Once they knew Rodden's class would participate in the project, officials were able to recruit some additional community support.

"Steward Steel donated the material for the project," Moore said, "and David Carnell is going to paint them for us."

Moore said the decorations will be painted white and wrapped in rope lighting for display. "When they are completed, hopefully in time for Christmas, we're going to put them in Legion Park downtown," he said.

"We are so excited," said Melissa Leible, chair of the HMDG's design committee. Leible said the decorations will be part of a snowflake theme for downtown Christmas decorations.

"It's an excellent addition to the Christmas decorations downtown," said Brandon Kuehn, executive director for the HMDG. "And getting the local school involved making them is really great."

"I liked it," said Justian Gray, a senior in Rodden's welding class, about working on the project.

"I thought it was pretty cool," said Brandon Morlan, a senior in Rodden's welding class. "I got to help do something for the city."