Christmas tree in park to be replaced – Times-Journal

City officials said the Christmas tree transplanted into City Park has died.

But, the city has plans to transplant another tree in time for the holiday season.

“The tree was put in last year,” Griggs said. “They have to be transplanted after the hot weather but before the real cold weather starts. You don’t really notice whether or not they are going to make it until the heat of the summer.”

Griggs said the city has planted many trees and said the survival rate is low.

“Normally, if you plant 10 trees, no matter the size or kind, you’re probably going to lose at least three,” he said. “There is no guarantee on them. That’s the second one that we attempted to put in the park and neither one made it.”

He said there are multiple reasons why the trees haven’t survived, which can include ground contamination, shock, the size of the root ball and more.

“We made sure it was well fertilized and watered everyday,” Griggs said. “There is no rhyme or reason as to why they make it and why they don’t. They just didn’t make it.”

Mayor Larry Chesser said the city is going to replace the tree, probably in late October or early November.

“We have another one we’ve looked at taking up from the Alabama Walking Park,” Chesser said. “It’s almost as big as the one that’s there now. The dead one will be replaced before Christmas, and hopefully this new one will live. It’s hard to make them live. We are going to try to have a green one for Christmas.”

The project began in December 2014 when 10-year-old Avery Phillips wrote Chesser a letter asking about Fort Payne having a community Christmas tree.

“I am a 10-year-old girl and have seen many Christmas lights and scenes during my lifetime,” the letter stated. “I have seen many cities with tree-lighting ceremonies that have done this service for people who might not have a tree of their own to see lit.

“I would like to see the city of Fort Payne have a tree-lighting ceremony of its own,” the letter continued. “If this is possible, please let me know, and I will be happy to help with this by helping to raise money or perform other needed tasks.”

Chesser responded by appointing Phillips as the Community Christmas Tree Chairman for the 2015 holiday season.

In a letter to Phillips, Chesser told her he, too, believes a community Christmas tree and lighting ceremony would mean a lot to the residents and the idea had been tossed around before.

He told her she would need to work out the details of the event.

“You will need to line up volunteers, select a location and arrange with our parks and recreation department for the necessary supplies,” Chesser stated in the letter. “Our public works department can help with a bucket truck and tree placement, if you decide on a real tree.”

Phillips previously told the Times-Journal she was excited to be a part of making Christmas a little more special for the citizens of Fort Payne.

“I’m very excited about it,” Phillips said. “And, I’m excited to be the chairman. I’ve never gotten to be part of anything that important and big.”

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