By Kevin Kelley
Chris Stuhm never thought his duties with the Westlake Service Department would include preparing a ball for a New Year’s Eve ball drop.
But with the city celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2011, that’s a project he and other Service Department employees have been working on.
The ball will be dropped — Times Square style – between 6:59 and 7 p.m. during the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration at Crocker Park. The event will include a video connection with Tralee, Ireland, Westlake’s sister city, where midnight comes at 7 p.m. Westlake time.
The ball consists of a mirror ball surrounded by rings of steel that will be decorated with Christmas tree lights. Thirty-seven inches in diameter, the ball will be lowered 30 feet during the final minute of the countdown. The exact mechanism to be used for the drop was still being determined as of late last week, Stuhm said.
As the countdown clock hits :00, the ball will disappear behind 30-inch high numerals reading “200,” a reference to the city’s bicentennial.
Service Department employee Dave Rencehausen is working on the creating the “200” sign. The numerals will probably be made of plywood and covered with a reflective or glittering coating, he said.
The New York New Year’s Eve ball drop dates to 1907. The tradition grew out of the use of time balls used in the 19th century to to enable sailors to set their chronometers on their boats offshore.