Downtown Christmas tree set for holiday season
The downtown Christmas tree is now in place in front of the Civic Center.
The Downtown Great Falls Association, in partnership with the city and multiple local businesses, has coordinated the tree each year since taking it over in 2016 when the city determined it could no longer carry the expense with taxpayer funds.
The tree is donated every year and is a tree that would otherwise be cut down and discarded, according to DGFA.
This year’s tree was donated from a residential property near Great Falls High School but after transport and being installed, it was determined that the branches were too brittle and many had fallen off in the move.
The DGFA and the city moved down the list of donated trees and quickly moved to cut one from the Fox Farm neighborhood and move it in front of the Civic Center.
“This year, unfortunately the process did not go as originally planned,” said Kellie Pierce, director of both the DGFA and the Business Improvement District.
“Ultimately it was determined that the tree would not be safe for city employees to put light on and could potentially be a hazard to passersby if the wind and snow were to blow broken branches from the tree. So the decision was made to procure a different tree from the community and replace the original one. We are grateful for the community members that call each year to potentially donate their tree and look forward to continuing the great tradition of Santa lighting our tree at the Parade of Lights,” Pierce said.
Cutting and transporting of the tree continues to be donated and the city provides crews to string lights and foots the bill to light the tree, according to DGFA.
The tree crew includes DGFA, Great Falls Park and Recreation, Maxim Crane, Johnson Madison Lumber, Guy Tabacco Construction, AT Klemens and Bench Industries.
“We are proud to have such generous companies and volunteers every year to help with this project, there are many hours and hands that are involved,” Pierce said.
A member of the DGFA’s Christmas Stroll committee coordinates the tree crew every year and when the city stopped funding the tree in 2016, he reached out to friends and the local business community to save the tree.
He spoke with City Manager Greg Doyon who suggested having a specific organization to take the task of managing the annual Christmas tree.
That’s when DGFA took over the Christmas tree that sits in front of the Civic Center annually.
Pierce said the tree is donated as it was in the past and local businesses on the tree crew donate their time and resources as well.
The DGFA created a Christmas fund to cover costs of the tree and the Christmas Stroll in the event that those donated resources aren’t available in the future.