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April 21, 2019 6:21 am

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Holiday Tree Under Discussion In Saugatuck

The big Christmas tree that used to light up the City of Saugatuck and the Kalamazoo Harbor during holiday seasons and was an attraction to visitors and locals alike will be making a come back.

“We are talking about how to raise the funds (to relaunch the annual tree tradition). Our goal is to have it up this year,” local business owner Sean Steele shared with Saugatuck City Council Monday night.

Steele, who owns For The Love of Shoes in downtown Saugatuck, reported finding on behalf of the city a former communications tower upon which lighted strings will be attached to create the Christmas tree.

The tower will stand 80-feet tall, the same height as the iconic Christmas tree that used to stand on a barge at the end of Butler Street.

That barge tree was skirted with strands of 3,000 lights, creating a prominent and attractive feature for observers against the Saugatuck skyline, especially from the vantage point of the Blue Star Highway Bridge and on top of Mt. Baldhead.

The barge broke loose during a storm in 2013; water pulled it downriver and the tower got tangled with trees. The barge itself was not damaged, but the tree was irreparably destroyed. A new tower was never built.

The new structure is a self-erecting tower mounted on a trailer that can withstand high winds, according to Steele.

He, Saugatuck Mayor Pro-Tem Ken Trester and Saugatuck City Council Member Bill Hess are spearheading the project and are seeking private funding.

In 2012, the city took private donations for the rebuilding of the lighted holiday star atop Mt. Baldhead tower.

Volunteers rebuilt the 24-foot star which was falling apart and subject to vandalism.

The star has also become an iconic feature of the area that can be seen from miles away in Saugatuck and Douglas.

A detailed formal plan has yet to be created for the recreation of the popular holiday tree.

Steele and city officials still need to talk about where a good location will be for the tower.

“It (the proposed moveable tower) can be moved to a different location every year (if the city so decides),” said Steele.

“The ultimate goal is to have the city own it (the former communication tower),” he added.

Holiday Tree Under Discussion In Saugatuck

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