There is nothing like the magic of Greenwich Avenue around the holidays. The first time I visited Greenwich in the winter of 2008, I thought it was such a special place and that one day I could see myself living in this community. Fast forward to 10 years later, I moved to Greenwich and launched this community publication with a similar vision of giving back to such an already vibrant place.
In 1990, The Greenwich Chamber of Commerce created a “Let There Be Lights” initiative as a 501©(3) for the goal/purpose of executing an annual lighting display in downtown Greenwich. Within the Chamber Board, member merchants and owners set out to raise money from the residential and business community for the lights. Lights were sparkling down the avenue and from across Putnam Avenue from Mason to Lafayette. After 9/11, interested parties expressed the need for a formal 9/11 town memorial site so, in 2012, the name was changed to the Greenwich Community Projects Funds in order to be a conduit for other town projects.
Subsequently, the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce sought the assistance of Greenwich Green and Clean to take over the downtown lights display as they carry out the beautiful hanging baskets on the lampposts. Greenwich Green and Clean then executed the lights for approximately 5 years.
In 2018, Greenwich Green and Clean voted to no longer handle the project and the town was going to be dark. At that point, Greenwich residents Alyssa Keleshian, of K Investments and Rick Kral, of the Greenwich Water Club took it upon themselves to handle the entire project with the assistance of Linda Sigler, a local volunteer. In 2019, without the support of an organization, no lights were hung.
In 2020, Sebastian Dostmann stepped up to take on the project and with Alyssa Keleshian and Rick Kral, the three have been behind the Greenwich Community Project's Fund “Let There Be Lights” Initiative. The lights have expanded to encompass the sidestreets of Greenwich Avenue and pockets of Cos Cob with special emphasis on town landmarks including the Board of Education and Senior Centers.
“Our goal is to keep the lights on and expand the program to other villages in town. The only way to do this is through the generosity of our local businesses and residents. We receive no money from the town and don’t spend a dime on solicitation mail or promotions” says Alyssa.
Greenwich is such a special place and more importantly are the people in it. Selflessly the trio of Alyssa, Rick and Sebastian give back to our town in such a lovely way. Greenwich Community Projects Fund is a 501©(3) based in Greenwich, CT, that raises money to support community-focused projects. For more information or to donate to the “Let There Be Lights” campaign visit gwchavenue.org.