Paxton discusses problems with downtown Christmas tree

PAXTON — There is no intent now by the Paxton City Council to end the more than 60-year tradition of installing a Christmas tree at the intersection of Market and State streets, but there could be changes.

Several members of the town's Service Club showed up to discuss the matter.

Mayor Bill Ingold said he'd been told by an employee of the Eastern Illini Electric Cooperative that liability concerns might curtail the company's participation. The company has a special truck that lifts, cuts and transports a tree donated by a resident.

This year's tree was especially large, making it difficult to haul it to the downtown site. Strong winds before Christmas blew the tree down, causing about $1,000 in damage to a manhole in the center of the street.

Street department head Randy Swan said the city has no equipment to handle the tree. Ingold said perhaps the city would have to consider using a much smaller tree, as Gibson City does.

But Service Club member Judith Ondercho reminded those present that the Christmas tree is a three-way project involving the city, the utility and the club. She said she thinks residents should be aware there are talks ongoing about changing anything. The council will discuss the matter again.

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