If Snoopy stays at City Hall, more could be on the way

COSTA MESA — Snoopy's new digs may be bigger than that one-story doghouse.

As Costa Mesa couple Jim and Linda Jordan battle Wells Fargo in court over the deed to their home on Santa Ana Avenue, city officials have assured them that if the battle is lost, their cherished Christmas tradition doesn't have to be.

"[City CEO] Tom Hatch offered me a home [for my decorations] there as long as we want, and I think that's outstanding," Jim Jordan said Wednesday, tired but happy after his family's annual Christmas setup premiered the night before on City Hall's front lawn. "Obviously we're still pressing to get our property back. But if the community responds, and it serves the community better there, it will stay there."

The set pieces would be stored in the city's storage yard the rest of the year.

Jim Jordan described what sounded like a herculean effort by city staff and residents to build his massive Christmas set in a matter of days — instead of the usual weeks — at City Hall instead of his home.

The Jordans' home, which they used as rental property, was foreclosed on last year. He was formally evicted last month. Since then, Costa Mesans had been scrambling to save his Peanuts-themed decorations that have been an annual attraction for thousands of families.

G&W Towing helped move the set pieces to City Hall at no cost. Residents assembled them. Another company donated a giant electrical generator to power the display, which is being fueled from the city's gas pumps.

Costa Mesa United, Estancia High School's cheer and sports groups, the city's police and nonpublic safety employees unions, and the Costa Mesa Community Foundation contributed money and materials to put it together.

The city has hired private security guards for about $100 a day to guard the display through New Year's Eve, said spokesman Bill Lobdell.

Banners created for holiday installation cost about $1,500, and will be part of the display next year as well, Lobdell said.

The city was also selling shirts at $5 a piece at the premiere.

The money raised, on top of extra donations residents contributed, will go to help offset the cost of the display; any money left over will be going to improving it next year, Lobdell said.

The Costa Mesa Conference and Visitor Bureau donated the lights illuminating City Hall, one of the many touches the city hopes to add to future Christmas displays. Officials said if the "Snoopy House" display remains at City Hall, there's discussions of adding nightly entertainment or adding more to the set.

"It's always accomplished what I hoped, and that's to give back to the community," Jim Jordan said. "In my wildest dreams did I ever think it would be at City Hall? Absolutely not."


Twitter: @JosephSerna

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