Neighbor Goes to Court Over Christmas Display
Crown Point Parkway man alleges damage after annual lighting celebration
The man behind the Christmas lights on Crown Point Parkway -- the cul de sac that's made national news for its annual holiday display -- is being sued by a neighbor in Small Claims Court.
Kevin Roberts is seeking $3,000 from Dan Hoag, alleging a fireworks display on Thanksgiving ruined his dinner and damaged his property.
The case is scheduled for a hearing Jan. 30 in Berea Municipal Court.
"I think it's a shame," said Hoag, who started the street-long decorating two decades ago with neighbor Dan Paliwoda. "We're just trying to do something nice for families and kids."
Roberts did not return a phone call seeking comment.
His complaint, filed Dec. 13, alleges debris from the fireworks damaged the roof of his house, his car and his lawn, and ruined his Thanksgiving dinner.
The suit also says that when his sister tried to leave his house on Thanksgiving 2011, she was unable to get through the crowd.
For the last 20 years, families on Crown Point Parkway have launched the holiday season at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving with a lighting ceremony.
The lighting event typically includes fireworks. The display fizzled in 2011 because someone called the police, who shut it down before it started.
It's against the law for residents to set off fireworks.
This year, Hoag got permission from Mayor Tom Perciak to rekindle the display. He said the city also sent two police officers to help ensure the safety of the 800 to 1,000 people gathered to watch.
The holiday display includes hundreds of thousands of lights on houses, in yards and on archways that line the sidewalks. In 1994, 11 families were invited to appear on NBC's Today Show when the street was featured.
Santa visits on the weekends, and donations left by visitors -- typically several thousand dollars -- are given to a local charity or family in need.
This year, the money went to the family of an 11-year-old Parma boy battling brain cancer.
Hoag said the Robertses participated in the display until 1999, but said Roberts' late father, who also lived at the house, then began complaining about it, saying the music was too loud, the street was too crowded and the line for Santa was too long.
Hoag said he will fight the complaint in court.
"First of all, I don't believe the cardboard tubes from the fireworks damaged anything," he said. "And this is a tradition for a lot of people. I don't think there's anything wrong with what we're doing."
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