South Portland donates Christmas tree for Portland’s Monument Square

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Portland’s Monument Square will be decorated with a Christmas tree from across the bridge this year.

The City Council Nov. 8 voted to donate a 40-foot blue spruce that stands in front of the Cash Corner Fire Station at 360 Main St.

Portland City Hall spokeswoman Jessica Grondin on Tuesday said the tree will be cut and moved Thursday, Nov. 15, starting at 7:30 a.m. It is expected to be standing in Monument Square by noon.

The tree will be trucked from Main Street across Veterans Bridge to Portland’s Commercial Street, to Franklin Arterial, and onto Congress Street until it reaches its destination in Monument Square.

In a memo to the council, Fire Chief James Wilson said the tree is overgrowing it’s location. He added that if funding is approved for a new fire station, the tree would have had to come down next summer to make way for construction.

“The cities of Portland and South Portland have a long history of working together in so many ways already that this just seems to fit perfectly into that existing arrangement,” Wilson said.

Donating a tree that would have “just been cut down and chipped up six months later,” he added, will allow the citizens of South Portland to “feel proud to have assisted (their) neighbor city with the shared holiday festivities.”

Although Town Manager Scott Morelli said the City Charter would have allowed him to make the decision on his own, he felt it best to give councilors and the public to opportunity for discussion.

No one objected to the donation and the council voted unanimously to move forward.

Mary Perry, assistant to the city manager, said this is the first time she can recall the city donating a tree to Portland, “although a private tree from Highland Avenue was chosen and donated a few years back.”

Portland’s annual tree-lighting ceremony will be held the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, Nov. 23, from 5-6:30 p.m. A “wish kid” from Make-A-Wish will light the tree around 6:15 p.m.

The event is hosted by Portland Downtown and will feature live music, light refreshments, and free horse-and-wagon rides.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

South Portland is donating this 40-foot tree at the Cash Corner Fire Station for this year’s annual tree lighting in Monument Square in Portland.

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