The city of Elk Grove has finalized plans to purchase a holiday ribbon tree for the District56 Civic Center. The purchase of the ribbon tree will not exceed $71,000. The item will be made by Artistic Holiday Designs, a United States-based company.
Deliberation for Elk Grove’s first official Christmas tree began in late May 2019. For the past 19 years, private property owners and the Old Town Elk Grove Foundation lit a large tree for the holidays. The tree was featured during the Dickens Street Faire in November. However, the tree will not be lit this year as City Council intends to run a new holiday event, The Illumination Holiday Festival. During these meetings, the City Council and staff drew out various options for a holiday tree.
Choosing The Right Tree
Staff presented three options for a holiday tree: a cut tree, an artificial tree, and a living tree.
A living tree was far too expensive for the civic center. Depending on the placement of the tree, the cost would run from $70,070 to $89,830, decorations not included. An additional $63,660 to $109,133 would be used for installation and decorations. Furthermore, the 16 species of trees used by the National Christmas Tree Association would not grow in Elk Grove’s dry climate. The best trees suited for the location would be Red Woods and Deodar Cedars, which are already growing near City Hall.
With a budget of $125, 000, the artificial tree would be just as expensive, costing $98,000 for start-up, plus an additional $27,000 for annual upkeep and other needs. An artificial tree would not be feasible or affordable for the city.
Then came the idea for a holiday ribbon tree, which would cost no more than $71,000, shipping included. Fortunately, the holiday ribbon tree is likely to last three to five years before restoration is needed. When the staff consulted with two other buyers (jurisdictions) of the holiday ribbon, they found that the buyers were satisfied with their purchases. Furthermore, their respective citizens and vendors were pleased with their trees too. While the holiday ribbon tree does not look like a traditional Christmas tree, it lends a “modern” and unique look to District56.
Diversity and inclusion of all winter holidays were discussed during city meetings.
Staff discussed how other winter holidays, such as Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, could be integrated into the festivities. Gobas, which are small lighting units that display messages, were also considered. The gobas would display messages and pictures on the walls of the buildings. Audio and light displays were also discussed.
District56 is a new community civic center that will open in late 2019.