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Sandy Hook Tree May Host Its Last Lighting Event
By Kendra Bobowick
The Sandy Hook center’s unofficial Christmas tree is coming down, but not before this holiday season’s tree lighting on December 1.
Newtown Forest Association (NFA), which owns the small corner property known as The Glen, where the current tree stands at the corner of Church Hill Road and Washington Avenue, along with town officials and Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity (SHOP) members have been considering plans for redesigning the area. Those plans will include a new tree.
As the December tree lighting approaches and thoughts turn to a rainbow of colors dressing the tree, SHOP President Mike Burton confirmed that all parties involved “are looking at a redesign, which would include a replacement tree.”
Meetings with NFA in the last year confirmed that the tree, for various reasons, needs to come down. Whether or not a replacement tree will take over the role as Sandy Hook’s holiday centerpiece or a new tree in a nearby location will be selected has not been determined.
Will this year’s celebration with that specific tree be the last one?
“We’re not sure,” Mr Burton admitted. “There are still designs to be done and funds to be found; I am not sure how long that’s going to take.”
The agreement among the all parties is to make plans well ahead of the tree’s removal so no future tree lighting is compromised, Mr Burton explained.
NFA President Robert Eckenrode feels confident that warmer weather will bring changes.
“The plan is to replace the existing tree in the spring,” Mr Eckenrode said via e-mail this week. He said NFA is “working closely with the town and landscape architects on this â€¦ we will be replanting a native evergreen in its currently honored place.”
He also confirmed “unofficial talk” about exploring the possibility of relocating the holiday tree to town property, possibly across the street from The Glen.
“We feel fortunate to be such an integral part of the Sandy Hook landscape and are working with SHOP and town officials to make the updates to our property something the community will appreciate and enjoy,” he added.
Public Works Director Fred Hurley anticipates that his department will again assist with stringing lights on the tree this year. Regarding the changes on that corner with new utility poles, repaving, and curb work as the streetscape project takes shape, he said, “I don’t see a problem.”
The 11th Annual Sandy Hook Tree Lighting will be part of a weekend of holiday events, and the second of three tree lightings between November 30 and December 2. (See related story for additional tree lighting information.)