PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- The man known as Mr. Christmas says he will pack up soon and move his popular holiday display out of Prairie Village. Mike Babick says a new city ordinance is killing his 47 year tradition.
Babick says he's had enough of the complaints about his display. Now, he's looking for a new place to show off his scores of animated friends.
"It makes me feel sad and angry," Babick said. "They want to kill Christmas in Prairie Village and it's killed!"
The 71-year-old great-grandfather says he made his heart breaking decision after the Prairie Village City Council passed a new ordinance on Monday. It requires Mr. Christmas and anyone who sponsors a special event to get a permit and pay feels to help the city cover the costs. The fees consist of $500 for a one way sign and almost $45 an hour to hire an off duty police officer to guard the grounds.
"I hate it," he said. "It should've never been passed. After 47 years in the city, why do I have to start paying them now?"
For years, some neighbors complained about Babick's display saying it caused traffic and parking problems. They also said it turned their front yards into restrooms.
"I think you need to control the crowds, buses and limos," said neighbor Sean Kelly.
Another neighbor says he hates to see the tradition end.
"I think it's a shame," said neighbor Bryan Weaver. "This man has been doing this for a long time.
One city council person agrees.
"I think it's a community treasure," said David Morrison, Prairie Village City Council president. "It brings business to the city."
Babick says he has received offers from other communities. He will decide later this week where he will move his display.