OCEAN CITY – The Avenue of Trees program is on life support as the Recreation and Parks Department is on the hunt for sponsors to keep the holiday display alive.
According to Special Events Director John Sullivan, Mayor Rick Meehan started the Avenue of Trees program in 2000 to decorate Baltimore Avenue from 15th to 33rd streets with lighted Christmas trees.
The original trees are 21-foot lighted artificial fur trees decorated with a snowflake. The town buys, sets up, maintains, takes down and stores for a period of five years for the sponsor. At one time, the department had 17 trees sponsored by local hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and individuals.
Sullivan has announced that 10 years later the trees have succumbed to the weather and age.
“Well, the trees proved to be very strong and many have lasted up through last year,” Sullivan said.
The town hopes to replace the trees to continue the Avenue of Trees on Baltimore Avenue during the Winterfest of Lights season each year.
“The town has added sponsors most years and several trees have been donated in the name of a deceased person,” Sullivan said.
The program has stepped it up a notch as far as the trees replacements go. The department is asking for sponsors to purchase new Christmas trees with third generation LED lights. The cost of the tree with shipping will run the sponsor around $4,000.
“One family who sponsored a tree recently told me they want the tree to continue even though the cost might increase,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan added, “Sponsoring a Christmas tree will not only promote your fine business but it will allow for a tax reduction.”
For those who are interested in sponsoring a Christmas tree, the tree can be paid for anytime between now and June 30, 2011.