WATERVILLE — Thanks to a Cornville tree farmer, Waterville has a beautiful, thick, tall balsam fir tree it will install downtown in Castonguay Square Thursday to be decorated with lights for the holidays.

Bryant LaPlante offered to donate the tree to the city after learning that the 40-foot blue spruce that had been in the square for more than 50 years was cut down last month because it suffered from spruce needle cast disease. At the time, city officials vowed to find a cut tree to replace it for the holiday season.

Parks and Recreation Director Matt Skehan drove to Cornville Tuesday morning to see LaPlante’s tree get cut down, loaded onto a trailer and hauled to Waterville.

“I think it’s going to be really nice,” Skehan said Tuesday. “I’m anxious to see how it turns out.”

The Waterville Main Street Design Committee, headed by Suzanne Culver, bought and is donating about 1,000 white lights for the tree, as well as a large star to adorn its top.

Culver and volunteers will help Skehan and other city workers put the lights on the tree after it is installed Thursday morning in the square.


“This is our contribution to the city for Christmas,” Culver said Tuesday. “We’re also going to hang white Japanese lanterns above the sidewalk that crosses from Common Street to City Hall.”

Waterville Main Street annually raises money for Kringleville, Santa’s mini-village that opens in The Center at 93 Main Street the day after Thanksgiving. Before the opening, the annual Parade of Lights, also hosted by Waterville Main Street, marches through downtown starting at 6 p.m. and the fir tree in the square is lit for the holidays.

LaPlante did not return a call seeking comment Tuesday afternoon, but Skehan said LaPlante contacted the city when he learned the old blue spruce was cut down in Castonguay Square and the city did not have a tree for the holidays.

“He reached out to us and I followed up, and it worked out well,” Skehan said. “It was real nice of him. He’s anxious to see it down there in the square.”.

On Tuesday at the city’s public works and parks and recreation complex on Wentworth Court, the giant thick, green tree lay on a long trailer, its wide stump jutting out from its base.

“I can’t wait to see it up,” Skehan said. “We’ve got the right equipment and we’ll make the base for it.”

Skehan said he likes the idea of erecting a cut tree in the square for the holidays each year.

“It’ll be a fun time and opens up the square for the rest of the year for other activities, including the summer concert series, the farmers market and other events.”


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