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Giant, living Sequoia tops off Plaza decorations

Modified: Wednesday, Nov 14th, 2012

Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian Bill Neighbors help stabilize a 30-foot Aptos blue sequoia tree as a crew from Auto Care Towing hoists the 12,000-pound live tree board Watsonville Plaza Wednesday.

WATSONVILLE — The giant tree that took up temporary residency in Watsonville Plaza Wednesday started out as a 35-foot-tall giant.

Once a tow truck had placed Aptos Blue Sequoia in the center of the lawn, however, it had been reduced by about 10 feet after the top snapped off during the moving process.

Despite its reduction in height, the tree dominates the center of the plaza and will soon be festooned with decorations and lights, the centerpiece of the city’s Holiday in the Plaza celebration.

Better still, the tree, with its roots intact and protected by a large makeshift box, will be replanted in Pinto Lake City Park at the conclusion of the holiday season.

The mishap occurred when the 45-ton tow truck used to lift the 12,000-pound tree and root box hoisted it from a supine position, causing the tree to snap up.

The tree, as well as the lights and decorations that will adorn it and the plaza, came from a local donor and prominent business owner who chose to remain anonymous.

“We have wonderful community members who wanted to give this gift,” said Watsonville Parks and Community Services Director Ana Espinoza.

Watsonville Planning Commissioner Marty Corley said he wanted this year’s tree to be more environmentally friendly than the traditional cut tree.

“I felt that we shouldn’t be cutting down and killing something this size,” he said. “This is good for the environment.”

The process of moving the tree into place required police to shut down Main Street between east Beach and Maple streets for about an hour.

The plaza will be lit up Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m. and will include a special appearance by Santa Claus. The tree will remain lit and on display through January 1.

Dec. 1 will also feature the annual Holiday Factory Sale starting at 9 a.m., in addition to the city’s third-annual Snow Day at Peck and Union Streets 3 to 6 p.m. Admission fee is a can of food to be donated to Second Harvest Food Bank.

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