Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 21, 2018

SNOW to expand with new attractions

Sep 27, 2017

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


In an effort to expand the annual Showcasing the Nights of Washington (SNOW) holiday events, Main Street Washington plans to add a new lighted attraction in front of the Central Park bandstand.

Director Sarah Grunewaldt told the Washington City Council Tuesday evening the new project is a series of Memory Trees in Central Park. The 6-foot cut trees will be displayed from Thanksgiving to New Years’s in memory of a contributor’s loved one. Main Street Washington will facilitate the purchase and simple decorations of the trees and a manufacture of a sign recognizing the purchaser. Grunewaldt believes there will be 30 to 50 trees on display in Central Park.

“Our goal is to cluster them in the park,” Grunewaldt said. “If we have trees that have not been purchased we will have a sign saying the tree is available.”

The council approved the promotion.

Grunewaldt said Ottumwa charges $100 for a tree. No decision has been made on how much Washington will charge for a tree, but she said Main Street is “leaning in that direction.”

She also said some additional lighting will be added to the front of the bandstand and in the holiday baskets on the utility poles around the square.

Grunewaldt said the idea of the memory tree project was “borrowed” from the city of Ottumwa. She said Ottumwa had been displaying trees for two years with great success. She said over 100 trees a year are purchased.

“It really made their downtown festive and really added to the spirit of Christmas and the holidays,” she said.

Mayor Sandra Johnson asked about the need to water the trees. Due to the cold weather, Grunewaldt didn’t believe they would have to be watered too often.

Concerns about the electrical cords for the lighting were brought up. Grunewaldt said that still is a “challenge” the group is working on. She said for now the trees will have a bow and a sign. The trees are lighted in Ottumwa and Grunewaldt is going to ask them how the light cords are set up.

Council member Kathryn Salazar asked about businesses sponsoring trees in Ottumwa. Grunewaldt said Main Street is hoping the trees can be specifically named in honor or memory of someone.

Grunewaldt said she has spoken with parks director Nick Pacha and have determined how to anchor the trees. She said the trees would not damage the grass, nor would they be a permanent fixture in the park.

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