Foreclosure did not derail city’s holiday tradition
More than 40 years ago, a man decided to celebrate the holidays by creating a public display of characters from Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” stories in his yard. Over the years, that display quickly grew, becoming not only a fun holiday tradition for the homeowner but also a holiday tradition for more than tens of thousands of nearby residents.
But that all ended last year when the man lost his home to foreclosure. After he was forced out of his house, one of the man’s biggest regrets was that he would no longer be able to hold the Peanuts display. That all changed, however, when the city stepped in and offered to save Christmas for the man and for the 80,000 people who come to see the display every year.
Prior to the foreclosure, the display was attended by families and tour groups who came by car and bus to sip hot apple cider, visit with Santa Claus, and walk through the display of twinkling lights. When the economic recession hit, however, the man’s business as a remodeling contractor suffered, and paying his mortgage became difficult.
In a misguided effort to receive a loan modification, he stopped making his mortgage payments. However, that led to his childhood home being foreclosed upon last November by lender Wells Fargo. The house is scheduled to be sold at auction in the near future.
Not ready to see the tradition die, the man’s neighbors banded together. They alerted news media, collected donations, and asked the city to step in. Now, the event will be held on the lawn outside City Hall, keeping the Christmas spirit alive for the homeowner and the entire town.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Snoopy Christmas display saved from foreclosure,” Amy Taxin, Dec. 13, 2011