By Roger McKinney
NEOSHO, Mo. —
The 40-foot Norway spruce in Big Spring Park that served as a community Christmas tree for decades is no more.
Workers with Neosho Tree Service on Friday morning methodically stripped the tree of its limbs before toppling what remained of the trunk.
Drought is thought to have been the cause of the tree’s death, and city officials gave it one last Christmas before it was cut down.
During the annual lighting ceremony in Big Spring Park, the person selected as Citizen of the Year has been given the honor of flipping the switch. The first task of the workers on Friday was removing the Christmas lights.
Wes Franklin, city spokesman, said he counted around 30 rings on the tree.
Dana Daniel, city development services director, said three walnut trees in the park that also succumbed to the drought will be removed in the coming weeks. He said one of those walnuts near the playground is believed to be very old.
“You hear people say the tree was big when they were kids,” Daniel said.
The city plans to plant a new evergreen in the park to serve as the community Christmas tree, but Franklin said a holly may have to serve that purpose in the interim.
Neosho Tree Service will cut down the Norway spruce and walnut trees at no cost to the city and keep the wood.