October 30, 2008

Monument Square gets its Christmas tree

How do you move a 40-ft. tall tree from one side of town to the other?

With delicacy and precision, if you're the guys from Perma-Structo, Dykstra Bros. and Tree Guys Tree Service. In barely two hours, they cut down and moved a magnificent Spruce from where it has grown for perhaps 50 years, through the city to Monument Square.

Racine's community Christmas tree was donated by Paul Bouwma, who recently purchased a new home ... its corner lot dominated by a beautiful -- but far too large -- tree. When he learned from his brother, Jim -- who runs Tree Guys -- that Downtown Racine Corporation was seeking a tree for Monument Square, well, everything came together.

Jim and his brother Dan, along with Mark Beaudin, owner of Perma-Structo, and Steve Dykstra, owner of Dykstra Bros., made short work of the project (all donating their efforts). Jim wielded the chain saw; Mark operated the crane; Dan climbed the tree to attach the crane's sling; and Steve secured the tree to the oversize trailer and drove it from High Street to Monument Square. There they found Devin Sutherland, executive director of DRC, digging out the anchor points for the stabilizing cables. DRC starting preparing for this year's tree in the spring, trying to ensure that its stay in Monument Square is not cut short this season, as it was last year when 50 mph winds toppled the city's Christmas tree early. Since then, DRC built a stronger tree holder -- a 15-inch diameter steel pipe buried in cement at the south end of the square. The hole is covered by a manhole cover all year, just waiting for its tree.

The tree will be lit for the first time on Nov. 8, right after the city's Downtown Holiday Parade, which begins at 5:30 p.m.

Two boys count the rings, trying to determine the tree's age

Here it is on Sixth Street

Crane lifts the tree from trailer to Monument Square

Lights for the top get a final once-over

Dan Bouwma at the top, attaching guywires

Baby's first tree is a humdinger!

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