Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told aldermen Monday night that city officials are still looking for a tree to become the centerpiece of holiday decorations this year in Fountain Square.
Until this year the city has managed to find a tree in Evanston whose owner wanted to donate it — often because it had become too big for their lot.
But Bobkiewicz says that to be suitable the tree has to be reasonably easy for city forestry crews to get at — not entangled in power lines, for example.
With no luck this year, the city now is expanding the search to neighboring towns within a five-mile radius of Fountain Square. That would include sections of Chicago, Kenilworth, Lincolnwood, Skokie, Wilmette and Winnetka.
But there still may be hope of finding an Evanston tree as well. Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said at the council meeting that there may be one at the Dobson Plaza Nursing Home, and Bobkiewicz said the forestry staff would check out whether it's a suitable prospect.
The city's looking for a tree at least 20 feet tall, with superior shape, located a clear distance from power lines and easy for forestry crews to access for cutting, removing and transport.
If you've got a tree you'd like to donate, you can call 847-448-4311.
The tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9.
The annual hunt for a tree could soon be a thing of the past. The renovation of Fountain Square that's scheduled to start next year includes plans to add a live tree suitable to be the centerpiece for holiday festivities to the traffic island just south of the square.
Update 11/19/16: The city manager says forestry staff has now identified tree on Main Street here in Evanston to become this year's Fountain Square tree. The tree will be cut and moved to Fountain Square on Dec. 5 in time for the planned Dec. 9 tree lighting.
He says over 70 trees from throughout the state were offered in response to the appeal.