City of Turlock Municipal Services Manager Rick Harden arranged the purchase of a 28 foot tall deodar cedar that was planted in Central Park on November 19, 2008. The 12,000 pound tree was planted to replace the old Central Park Christmas tree that had to be removed because of disease, age, and safety hazard risks.
Rick Harden called around looking for the biggest tree he could get before the Turlock traditional Festival of Lights and he found one at Valley Crest Tree Company for $4,000. The money was all fundraised through the City of Turlock. Harden put out a request for fifty $100 donors towards the purchase of the tree and a commemorative plaque the donors would be acknowledged on.
The planting was a first for maintenance workers putting in the tree because it was one of the biggest trees planted in the city and had location obstacles such as a newly built brick planter surrounding the 4 foot deep hole that was made for the tree’s roots. The city’s crane could not even handle the load of the 12,000 pound tree. Luckily a crane was provided by the tree company for only $350.
It took several hours, a few mishaps and a crane setting that was initially crooked. City crews brought a loader tractor to lift one of the corners so workers could shovel dirt under the tree to straighten it up.
The event was documented as it was replacing history while making history at the same time.
During the latter part of the week the tree was given special care to hopefully get it past going in shock. With the cooperation and help from T.I.D., an updated electrical system was installed to accommodate putting up Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association’s contributed traditional Central Park Christmas tree lights.
The completion of the project comes just in time for Turlock Downtown’s Festival of Lights Ceremony to be held on November 28, 2008.
The last event incorporating our City of Turlock’s Centennial will be the Lights on Parade on December 5, 2008.
The unveiling of Turlock’ founder, John Mitchell, will take place just before the parade in Central Park also.