This year’s Christmas tree installed at Columbus City Hall

Mike Wolanin | The Republic A group of volunteers raise the Christmas tree at Columbus City Hall in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Whitney and Patricio Amuchastegui donated the tree.

COLUMBUS, Ind. — A 25-foot Norway Spruce recently made its way from north Columbus to downtown before arriving at its new home the city hall plaza on Wednesday morning.

This year’s tree was donated by Su Casa Executive Director Whitney Amuchastegui and her husband, Patricio. Department of Public Works Director Bryan Burton estimated that the evergreen was previously about 30 feet tall but would be cut down to about 24 or 25 feet before being set up at city hall.

According to Burton, crews from Frank’s Tree Care cut the spruce down Wednesday morning. The Department of Public Works then transported it to city hall on a flatbed truck. From there, the tree was set up at the plaza by a combination of individuals from public works, parks and recreation and Frank’s.

Burton said in a previous interview that he and David Elsbury, the owner of Frank’s Tree Care, are on the lookout all year long, searching for the right tree. Then, once they’ve found it, the city will ask the owners of the property it stands on if they’d be willing to donate the evergreen.

However, this year, the situation was a little different.

“In a way, it came to us,” Burton said.

Amuchastegui said that the tree was planted before they moved into their residence but “not a whole lot earlier.” She added that it’s grown rapidly and is three times the size it was when they first moved in.

Before being cut down, the tree had shallow roots along the top of the ground and had begun to make cracks in the nearby concrete patio. Amuchastegui said they didn’t want the tree to hurt the house, so they decided to take it down while it was still just a “superficial” problem.

She decided to have Elsbury come and look at the situation, and he agreed that that the Norway Spruce would probably need to be removed.

Elsbury told the Republic he was struck by the “shape and fullness” of the tree. He was notified about the situation in September but suggested that they wait to take the tree down and donate it to the city, as it would make “a beautiful Christmas tree.” The family agreed.

“We love this tree,” Amuchastegui said. “It is just full of life and it’s a beautiful tree, and we’re very sad to actually see it go, but happy it’s obviously going to a fun celebration like this.”

Mike Wolanin | The Republic
A Norway spruce tree is hoisted from Whitney and Patricio Amuchastegui’s back yard in Columbus, Ind., Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. The Amuchasteguis donated the tree to be the Christmas tree at Columbus City Hall.

For the complete story, see Friday’s Republic.