WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Something’s been missing from the Waterbury Green the last couple of years, and now, someone decided to do something about it.
In the last couple of days, a Christmas tree popped up across the street from the green downtown and people have been stopping by to add decorations to it.
It’s a wonderful sight for residents who remembered a time when a big Christmas tree used to light up the Waterbury Green.
“It used to be nice, you know?” said Waterbury resident, Bob Schlander. “But now you walk downtown you got no tree!”
The city chopped down the tree a couple of years ago when they renovated the Waterbury Green. The mayor texted News 8, saying it was taken down because it was, “infested with some fungal disease and dying”. So, the city went to Plan B. An oak tree is decorated with Christmas lights in Library Park next to city hall and there’s a nativity scene. The problem is, some residents don’t think of an oak tree as your typical Christmas tree.
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“It don’t even look like a Christmas tree,” Bob said.
Another resident gave us his opinion of the oak tree while looking at it this afternoon.
“Well, it certainly doesn’t look like much in the daytime,” said John Houston, a Waterbury resident. “But I’m certainly assuming that it looks very nice at night.”
He gives the city an “A” for effort, but he wishes that the Christmas tradition of having a big tree on the green would be restored. Apparently, he isn’t the only one who feels this way. Over the last couple of days, some Christmas elves have struck across the street from the Waterbury Green. Someone bought — and put up — a Christmas tree and people have stopped to decorate it.
It makes John proud that someone else out there is sending a message.
“They’re making a statement that we have to have a tree downtown,” he said. “I would tip my hat and say, ‘thank you very much and very Merry Christmas.'”
Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary was out of town most of the day. He was on his way back from Florida and was not available for an on-camera interview. But, News 8 was able to speak with him via text. We asked him if there are plans to restore the Christmas tree tradition on The Waterbury Green anytime soon.
Here’s how he replied to our text:
“We plan on putting a Christmas tree back on The Green and an additional one in Library Park,” he wrote. “Probably in the spring.”
“That’s a thumbs up,” John said. “I would be excited to see that.”