Downtown Park Rapids Christmas tree takes a tumble
The community tree, lit up in a virtual ceremony on Friday, was lying in the middle of Main Avenue by Sunday morning.
Park Rapids’ downtown Christmas tree fell down Sunday morning after standing only a week in the middle of Main Ave.
The Park Rapids Downtown Association's web cam caught the action.
“We had some high winds on Sunday, and unfortunately, the high winds snapped the tree right at the base, where it went into the hole in the street,” said Butch De La Hunt, president/CEO of the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce.
Kelly Kimball, with Kimball Sawmill and Logging, said he talked with Mayor Ryan Leckner after the incident about possibly enlarging the opening in the street for the tree to stand in. Kimball noted that before a large tree can be mounted, the bottom of its trunk must be whittled down with chainsaws to fit the hole, and this may have contributed to the current tree’s downfall.
“We were so surprised and sad to see the tree down this morning,” Molly Luther, co-chair of the Park Rapids Downtown Business Association, said on Sunday. “We look forward to it going up every year, as it really brings the holiday to life downtown. If the tree can be saved and reinstalled, that would be amazing, but we also understand what an undertaking it is for the volunteers who put it up.”
Luther said volunteers were going to assess the damage to the tree, lights and decorations and see what can be done to restore it to its upright position.
“We’d like to thank the Park Rapids city police for securing the scene and Butch De La Hunt and Kelly Kimball for getting the tree out of traffic, organizing the cleanup effort, and making a plan regarding what happens next,” she said.
“What we are hoping to do is have the crew come in, and we will cut the tree a little shorter,” said De La Hunt, adding that he hopes there won’t be too much damage to the lights or branches. “Then we’ll re-stand that up, and hope to do that in the next coming days. And then, we’ll be right back in the holiday spirit with our tree back up.”
Kimball said the tree will likely rise again next weekend, if conditions allow.