PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The future of an annual holiday display in Palm Springs is unknown. Neighbors who live in the Movie Colony district gathered at a meeting with city leaders to discuss the growing popularity of 'Robolights'.
Kenny Irwin created 'Robolights'. The holiday display attracts tens of thousands of people each year for about six weeks.
“It does bring a lot of joy and it's my hope to make the world a better place than the way I found it, and this is my way of doing it as an artist,” said Irwin.
It’s increasing popularity has some neighbors frustrated.
“It’s just a zoo. It’s a riot, is what it is. It’s not controlled, it’s not regulated,” said one neighbor.
The city of Palm Springs has proposed a set of requirements for Irwin to abide by, including implementing a shuttle service. Spectators would be picked up from Ruth Hardy Park and shuttled to the display. The service would cost Irwin upwards of $100,000.
“We don’t think it’s fair to have to pay 500 percent more for these extra terms and conditions the city wants,” said Dayton Parcells, Irwin's attorney.
Parcells proposed charging spectators $5 per person to pay for the shuttle service. He says any excess money collected will be donated to the Desert Aids Project. But the city leaders shut down the idea.
“We’re never going to be okay with you collecting money for this event because that now makes it a commercial enterprise in a residential neighborhood,” said Palm Springs Mayor Protem, J.R. Roberts.
Parcells argued the proposed conditions are inconsistent with a settlement agreement in 2017. But according to Palm Springs' city attorney, that claim is false.
An addendum reads in part, "City involvement with the 'Robolight Event' may vary from the 2017 process', along with addressing safety and welfare concerns.
But Parcells is confident the display will shine on.
“I have every confidence that Robolights will continue to appear as it has for the last 32 years and bring joy and happiness to everyone,” said Parcells.
“This has been in and out of the courts since its inception and it will not move forward unless they can come to terms with what the city is requesting,” said Roberts.
“I have this drive as an artist to create art and share it with people. This is how I was born and how i’m wired,” said Irwin.
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