Tipton Lakes family donates this year’s Columbus City Hall Christmas tree

COLUMBUS, Ind. — If a couple of bouts of snow wasn’t enough to convince you that Christmas is on its way, the 20-foot tall evergreen at Columbus City Hall might do the trick.

City crews, along with Frank’s Tree service, cut the tree down Wednesday morning, then set it up at city hall. City facilities director Mike Pope said that the tree will have lights on beginning Nov. 25 and remain lighted until Jan. 12 through 17.

Department of Public Works Director Bryan Burton said the tree is a 12-year old Norwegian spruce donated by Chuck McGuire, who resides in the Tipton Lakes area.

The annual tradition is that Burton and David Elsbury, the owner of Frank’s Tree Care, are on the lookout all year long for the city’s tree, searching for the right one. Then, once they’ve found it, the city will ask the owners of the property where the tree is located if they’d be willing to donate the evergreen.

This year, things happened a little differently, with McGuire calling to offer his tree.

McGuire and his wife, Mary Jane, were housebuilders in Tipton Lakes since the 1980’s. The couple built a personal home in the area and planted three spruces there in 2010.

The city had to remove one because of an easement, said McGuire. They tried to move and replant another but were unsuccessful.

“I do have another one just like it toward the back of the house,” he said. “But this one was getting large enough , getting too close to the corner of the house, and I just wanted to donate it while I could,” he said.

While Burton and Elsbury were looking at several other candidates, they eventually chose McGuire’s tree. He estimated the spruce to be approximately 30 feet prior to its removal. Burton said it would be trimmed to 20 to 22 feet.

McGuire said he would have liked to have kept the tree, but he was concerned about it causing damage if it stayed put.

“It’s a beautiful tree,” he said. “I do hate to get rid of it, but I’m glad it’s going to a good cause.”

For more on this story and more photos, see Friday’s Republic.