BERLIN — Berlin’s new Christmas tree, which is set to be officially lighted tonight, is bigger than previous years and may have some company in the form of a second, living tree next year, according to officials.
Mayor Gee Williams confirmed that the initial plan this year had been to seek a living tree that could be transplanted with roots intact and could then be planted after the holidays in one of the town’s parks.
Unfortunately, time constraints and difficulty finding a suitable location for the tree to be planted permanently caused the town to delay a living tree approach until next year. Instead, efforts were made by Grow Berlin Green (GBG) to acquire a traditional one-time-use tree from an environmentally-friendly farm.
“We did the next best thing,” said Williams.
This year’s tree was raised at the Nichols Farm in Hebron. According to Steve Farr of Grow Berlin Green, the farm was chosen because of its sustainability practices.
“After every tree they cut down, they plant one or more new ones,” he said.
Farr also mentioned that the Nichols Farm has both solar and wind power on site and in general keeps in line with the “green” practices Berlin encourages.
While last year’s tree measured in at about 16 feet, Farr revealed that the town council asked for a more impressive specimen this year.
“That was our mandate,” he joked.
The tree currently in front of the Atlantic Hotel more than met that requirement, coming in at approximately 20 feet. The tree was purchased with funds donated by Councilman Troy Purnell. Though they weren’t able to make arrangements for a living tree this year that could be replanted, Williams called the use of Nichols Farm “a step forward.”
Next year, however, Farr is confident Berlin will be able to provide both the traditional cut tree in front of the Atlantic Hotel and a second living tree somewhere else in town.
“That was our goal this year, but we got off to a little bit of a late start,” said Farr.
The main hurdle will be finding a suitable site in town, he explained. The goal is not to have the second tree “detract from” the traditional tree. The auxiliary tree will be relatively small, according to Farr, and GBG plans on decorating it with solar powered lights and recycled ornaments as testament to the town’s continued goal of increased sustainability.