Get Lit, LLC, the maker of Conway’s 54-foot artificial Christmas tree, will arrive with the first piece of Conway’s Christmas tree today, bringing additional workers to make sure the job is done on time.
The company was originally scheduled to arrive with the supplies to begin assembling the city’s $130,000 decoration Monday night.
Summer Hull, Get Lit chief operations director, said the company has experienced a few delays on the delivery of the tree, but plans to bring in extra people to make sure the tree is assembled in time for the tree lighting ceremony Saturday night.
A price has not yet been put on the additional man power it will take to put up the tree before Saturday, Hall said, but it will include everything from hotel rooms to gas and food.
Hull hasn’t figured out how much the delay is going to cost the company, but no additional costs will come to the City of Conway. "The city has a cut and dry cost," she said.
Chief of Staff Jack Bell said the city paid a flat rate of $3,500 to aid with construction as part of the initial $130,000 cost of the tree.
Construction of the tree’s inner skeleton will begin this morning, but the branches preassembled with garland, lights and ornaments will not arrive until Friday, Hull said.
In August, the Conway City Council voted to buy the tree using advertising and promotion tax money raised through a two percent prepared food tax commonly refereed to as hamburger tax.
Some Conway citizens have expressed concern saying that the $130,000 could have been spent more wisely, but Hull said, any town investing in Christmas is a smart thing to do.
"It will bring people in to see things they haven’t seen before drawing them back to spend money," she said.
The Christmas tree will even draw a number of Get Lit employees to Conway, Hull said.
"We’re going to come and put some of this money back in the Conway economy," she said. "We have many friends and family coming to look at this tree."
Get Lit started working on the tree the day after Mayor Tab Townsell approved it, Hull said.
Although Conway’s tree may be the largest artificial tree in the Midwest, it did not take precedent over Get Lit’s other projects.
"Other contracts that were in before that had to get finished, but we started ordering and planning the moment we got the contract," Hull said.
Monday, the company completed its first tree of the season at the Lawrence Plaza Ice Rink in Bentonville.
When workers arrive, the tree’s base will be constructed on top of the recently installed fountain at Rogers Plaza in front of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce.
The tree’s internal structure will consist of a hollow cone with a 27-foot-wide base adorned with artificial tree limbs, ornaments and more than 19,000 lights. Upon completion, the structure will weigh about 10,000 pounds, Hull said.
Anchors were installed in the concrete around the fountain during the construction of Rogers Plaza as a precaution against high winds, but due to the sheer weight and size, Hull said, it isn’t going to go anywhere.
Although it’s a lot of money to spend at one time, Hull said, the tree is not a one time thing. Wind tested at 90 MPH, the tree is expected to last at least 10 years.
"It’s a lot of money the first year, but Conway will have that tree for years," Hull said. "It will continue to bring people to the community to spend money — not just for 2013."
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)