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Downtown donation: Aurora puts up city’s holiday tree

Aurorcity employees watch as co-worker Lacey Neal secures strap around tree so it can be hoisted with crane onwaiting semi-trailer

Aurora city employees watch as co-worker Lacey Neal secures a strap around a tree so it can be hoisted with a crane onto a waiting semi-trailer to be put on display outside North Island Center on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. The tree was donated to the city by Aurora Township resident Joan Davis. | Jeff Cagle~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 8, 2012 6:25AM

AURORA — The city’s official holiday tree, a 43-foot blue spruce, slowly made its way across town Tuesday morning.

The tree, donated for Aurora’s holiday celebration by homeowner Joan Davis, was cut down Tuesday morning from the front of her home in the 1300 block of Woodland Drive in Aurora Township, near Indian Trail and Church Road on the northeast side.

It was loaded on a flatbed truck for the trip downtown, where it stands in front of North Island Center on Galena Boulevard at Stolp Avenue.

The winners of Miss Merry Christmas and Jack Frost will help Mayor Tom Weisner and Santa Claus light the official holiday tree at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 during the city’s inaugural Winter Lights and holiday walk event.

Davis said she received two 18-inch blue spruce trees from an elderly neighbor when she lived on Rural Street more than three decades ago. When she moved to Woodland Drive 35 years ago, she planted the trees in front of her new home and decorated them for the holidays when they were smaller.

The neighbor “said he wouldn’t live long enough to see them get tall, so we took them and we’ve had them ever since,” Davis said.

The trees eventually grew too large for her property, said city spokesman Kevin Stahr.

“Joan thought it would be a nice gesture to give the tree to the city last year so residents could enjoy its grand beauty,” Stahr said. But the city already had another tree lined up last year, and instead took Davis up on her offer this year.

Davis said the city is helping her by taking the overgrown tree off of her hands.

“I watched all of the people in the neighborhood — they’re all losing their pine trees, they’re getting old and bad,” she said. “I told my husband we should donate them before they get the same way.”

Davis’ husband Michael died last April.

“I just went ahead with our plan to donate the tree,” Davis said. “I didn’t realize how big it was until I saw it laying down on the back of the trailer.”

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