Community

Covington lights up new holiday tree

Thanks to generous support from businesses and community members, the Covington community tree lights up the Don Henning Roundabout again.

During a second tree lighting ceremony Dec. 12 with about 50 spectators on the sidewalk near Fred Meyer on 168th Place Southeast, Covington Mayor Margaret Harto counted down from 10 before Santa Claus hit the switch to light up the tree, a 25-foot Mountain Hemlock which was planted Dec. 7 to replace the 35-foot Spruce which had to come down after a vandal fatally damaged it Dec. 1.

Harto told the small crowd who showed up for the second lighting of the tree that Fred Meyer in Covington as well as Valley Orthopedic Associates donated $2,000 each to help cover the costs of replacing the tree.

Additionally, Clements Construction chipped in another $1,000, and residents of the city from the very young to the elderly donated small amounts from the pennies in their piggy banks to $5 bills which added up to more than $400.

“It affirms my believe and my passion about this city,” Harto said. “We’ve been lighting this tree since we became a city in 1997. We weren’t going to let one person ruin this. Isn’t it beautiful? And it’s going to stay that way all through the holidays.”

The tree which was vandalized was planted in 2008. It replaced a tree on the corner of 168th and Southeast 272nd Street which the city had been lighting up for years during the holidays.

That tree came down in part to make way for construction of the road expansion needed to carry traffic to Costco but also because it was diseased and dying.

Once the roundabout, which was named after Covington Councilman Don Henning who died in 2007, was complete in October 2008 the new tree was placed. At the time it was 25 feet tall.

According to information provided by the city, it cost $4,000 for the tree, transportation, planting, warranty and service. Tack on to that $1,800 for the string lights, $650 for the star on top as well as $1,500 for the equipment needed to string the lights along with staff time.

Covington staff are also working with Crime Stoppers, which will offer up to a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the vandal. To report tips anonymously, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or provide a web tip at www.crimestoppers.com.

For more information send email to raisethetree@covingtonwa.gov or call Community Relations Coordinator Karla Slate at 253-480-2402.

 

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