The takedown of Conway’s 54-foot, artificial Christmas tree has begun.
In its first year in Rogers Plaza in downtown Conway, the tree was the center of controversy from its approval by city council to the variables surrounding its removal.
Get Lit, LLC, the tree’s manufacturer, informed city officials last week there would be no charge to take down the mammoth decoration after previously alerting officials, via a teleconference, that Conway would be responsible for its workers’ lodging, meals and labor. Further negotiations ironed out the details, and Conway was not required to pay any costs for the takedown.
"This is Get Lit coming to Conway on its own dime, with its own staff to take [the tree] down," Chief Operations Officer Summer Hull said, who also pointed out the original contract did not call for Get Lit to remove the tree.
Upon removal, the $130,000 tree — which featured non-working lights most of the holiday season — will be sent back to Springdale for repairs, again at no cost to Conway.
Get Lit officials have blamed water and vandals for problems with the tree’s lights.
"Although we believe that any electrical issues with the tree itself and the electrical supply to Rogers Plaza have been resolved, Get Lit will be bringing the tree back to its facility in Springdale for a thorough inspection and any necessary warranty repairs," Get Lit said in a Jan. 16 statement.
The company also said it would give Conway officials an opportunity to view the tree, in operation, before it is returned.
"Get Lit will also be available to consult with the city on measures that can be taken in the future to prevent vandalism to the tree," the company’s statement said.
(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan.)