Council Weighs Options for Beverly Hills Holiday Décor

On July 14, the Rodeo Drive-Special Events-Holiday Program Committee presented City Council Liaisons Mayor Robert Wunderlich and Vice Mayor Lili Bosse different options for winter decorations in key locations around the city, asking for their recommendations on different options for lilypond decorations, hanging streetlamps, and Christmas trees.

The City Council, which voted unanimously in a July 15 Study Session to approve a $397,188 purchase order for a series of 4 to 10-foot-tall glittering elves dispersed throughout Rodeo Drive medians, will consider Wunderlich and Bosse’s recommendations during a July 27 City Council meeting. 

The Committee presented Wunderlich and Bosse four options for Christmas trees in Beverly Canon Gardens. Bosse and Wunderlich both recommended the “Elf Tree” option, even though it was the most expensive at $280,000. Bosse said she liked the 36-foot-tall tree, which is ensconced in white LED lights, snow, lanterns, ornaments, and 15 wooden elf houses, because of its ties to the elves on Rodeo Drive and the fact that people can walk through it and interact with it.

“The Elf Tree looks very holiday decor and traditional, with a twist, which is what I think we’re trying to achieve this year with our holidays,” Bosse said. “If we do end up supporting the elves concept on Rodeo, that certainly ties in… if the money is spoken for, I would probably say I would be leaning towards the Elf Tree.”

“I like the walk-through aspect, I like the height – to me, the Elf Tree ties in more with the decorations on Rodeo Drive,” Wunderlich said. 

Staff told Bosse that all options fall within an already approved budget, so the money is “spoken for.”

Wunderlich and Bosse also reviewed two different decoration options for the stretch of North Canon Drive between Clifton Way and South Santa Monica Boulevard. Normally, that stretch is flanked by tall columns and obelisks, but staff warned that those could get in the way of the parklets and sidewalk dining. Instead, staff presented the liaisons with two alternatives: either a “linear” swag of shimmering, colored lights swooping over the street in straight, horizontal lines, or a “playful” swag of colored lights interspersed in randomized, frenetic patterns.

Wunderlich and Bosse both opted for the playful option as a refreshing change of pace. “I think it’s more unique, more artistic, more out of the box, as opposed to just kind of stringing colorful lights over a street,” Bosse said, noting a similar “linear” pattern crowning the West Hollywood stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard. 

Finally, Wunderlich and Bosse chose between tall tubes of light or a bed of reeds to festoon the lilypond at Beverly Gardens Park. Both options would be mostly white, but glow rainbow colors at selected times. The liaisons both opted for the reeds, which will be scattered throughout the lilypond, provided they are tall enough for passersby to see. 

“If the reeds are very low, I don’t know that they’re going to have the impact that I think we want it to have, because we want for people who drive by or walk by, if they’re not at the lilypond, to experience the light show,” Bosse said. Associate Project Manager Teresa Revis assured Bosse that the reeds can reach up to 5 feet and would be visible from the street. 

Wunderlich and Bosse considered one other item on the July 14 agenda, and postponed another. Due to a conflict of interest, Wunderlich recused himself from reviewing a request from Netflix to close down the area of Crescent Drive near City Hall from Sept. 10-21 in order to prepare for and then host a lavish post-Emmys party. He will recuse himself again when the Council revisits the request at its July 27 meeting, Marketing and Economic Sustainability Manager Laura Biery told the Courier.

The liaisons then heard a preliminary presentation on BritWeek, a car rally to take place in an as-yet undetermined Downtown Triangle route in November that will feature deluxe antique and futuristic cars from the U.K. and the U.S. Britweek, a nonprofit founded by “American Idol” and “So You Think You Can Dance” producer Nigel Lythgoe that aims to promote British culture in and around Los Angeles, requested $32,000 for street closures, one-day use of the Wallis, British and American flags projected on City Hall, and advertisements in local newspapers. Wunderlich and Bosse were both receptive, with Bosse highlighting the need for the event to boost Beverly Hills businesses. 

The City Council will review the request at its July 27 meeting.   

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