McHENRY, Ill. (CBS) – A McHenry family has won the honor of supplying the City of Chicago with its iconic Christmas tree in Daley Plaza this year.
Christmas is nearly two months away, but voting for the tree that will grace the downtown plaza has ended. John Colomer of McHenry and his family will be supplying a 70-foot blue spruce tree that now stands on their property.
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More than 70 trees from Chicago, elsewhere in Illinois, and Indiana were submitted for the city’s consideration. The requirements were that the tree be a spruce or fir at least 55 feet tall, accessible to insure safe removal, and no more than 100 miles from downtown Chicago.
Chicagoans got to vote on three finalists over the past week. Colomer reportedly received about half of the 5,000 votes cast.
“We’re very excited about it, that it was picked, and we are just waiting now for it to be taken down and brought into Chicago,” Colomer said.
He also expressed excitement at supplying the tree for Mayor Richard M. Daley’s last tree-lighting ceremony before he leaves office.
“That’s very exciting also, for our entire family to be part of it,” Colomer said.
The tree sits in the oldest part of McHenry, but the lot is soon to be cleared for development. It will be cut down by the Brickman Group on Thursday, Nov. 4, and installed in Daley Plaza the following day.
The lighting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
While violent winds and storms were descending on the Chicago area Tuesday morning, Colomer said the tree had not sustained any damage.
A single tree like Colomer’s was also used in Daley Plaza last year, but in years before that going back more than half a century, the city erected an 85-foot conical tree composed of scores of smaller trees. The tree the year before last was made up of 113 smaller trees.
But a 2008 report by CBS 2 Investigator Pam Zekman reported showed the city paid more than $300,000 for city workers to build the frame, decorate the tree, and dismantle it over the course of six weeks.
Following Zekman’s report, the city decided to scrap the compound tree for a single one.