ELYRIA, Ohio – FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) and its subsidiary Ohio Edison will brighten Elyria with a professionally designed light display as part of the company’s second annual “Light Up Holiday Smiles with FirstEnergy” program. The initiative is helping make the season brighter and merrier with the gift of holiday lights for three deserving communities across FirstEnergy’s service areas in Ohio, West Virginia and New Jersey.
The holiday lights will adorn Pioneer Plaza Park, located at 328 Broad Street in downtown Elyria. The public is encouraged to attend a park lighting ceremony from 5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov 30. Visitors can enjoy refreshments and other holiday festivities prior to watching the park light up with holiday magic at 6:20 p.m.
With thousands of vehicles passing through the heavily traveled downtown area each day, residents and visitors also will be able to enjoy the lights and decorations throughout the holiday season.
Elyria was selected from several northeast Ohio communities that applied for the holiday lights gift from FirstEnergy Corp. To qualify for the program, cities were required to be located in Ohio, served by a FirstEnergy utility and part of the state’s Reinvention Cities Network or eligible for JobOhio’s Vibrant Communities Program, both of which demonstrate a degree of economic difficulty. Interested communities were asked to submit statements outlining why they should be considered for the display, including local efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the community.
“All the applications told compelling stories of how the communities have weathered economic adversity and are focused on creating a brighter future for their residents,” said Pat Mullin, acting president of FirstEnergy’s Ohio operations. “FirstEnergy is honored to recognize the efforts underway in the Elyria to ensure a vibrant and strong community through the ‘Light Up Holiday Smiles’ program, which supports togetherness and joy during the holiday season, and we look forward to hosting a beautiful event on Nov. 30.”
Elyria has distinguished itself with its strong commitment to helping families and children living in poverty. The population of children has rapidly increased in the city over the past decade, with the elementary-aged youth population increasing 65% and preschooler-aged population increasing 94% since 2010. Elyria is home to the largest public housing development in the county, as well as The Boys and Girls Club and Horizon Activity centers, which provide services to hundreds of at-risk children in the community.
“We are grateful to FirstEnergy for recognizing our ongoing efforts to provide safe, affordable housing and services to local families and children in need,” said Mayor Frank Whitefield. “This holiday lighting display will be a great way to show off our Pioneer Plaza Park, surrounded by the brand-new library and the Elyria Arts Council right next door. I hope these lights fill Elyrians of all ages with cheer and I encourage everyone to visit downtown and view all the holiday decorations this season.”
FirstEnergy Corp. is dedicated to integrity, safety, reliability and operational excellence. Its ten electric distribution companies form one of the nation’s largest investor-owned electric systems, serving customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland and New York. The company’s transmission subsidiaries operate approximately 24,000 miles of transmission lines that connect the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions. Follow FirstEnergy online at www.firstenergycorp.com. Follow FirstEnergy and its utilities on Twitter @FirstEnergyCorp, @ToledoEdison, @IlluminatingCo, @OhioEdison, @MonPowerWV, @Penn_Power, @Penelec, @Met_Ed, @PotomacEdison, @W_Penn_Power.