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Christmas comes early, permanent gift gained
Federal Way has adopted a small Christmas orphan.
But this adoption was not so much an act of charity as a celebration of community spirit.
Thats because the orphan is actually a 37-foot grand fir tree transplanted to the north side of the SeaTac Mall parking lot last week. It will become the citys most conspicuous Christmas tree for years to come.
The fir had been at a tree lot in Snohomish County, waiting in vain for someone to buy it, explained Kelley Gast, mall marketing director. Now, it has a permanent home.
As long as 320th (Street South) is here, this tree will be here, Gast said.
In 50 years, the grand fir could grow to 100 feet.
However, In the first year it wont grow. It will be in a little bit of shock, she said.
SeaTac Mall maintenance personnel will handle the grooming tasks each year.
The costs for the tree, about $2,500, including transport and transplanting, were footed by Lloyd Enterprises, SeaTac Mall and the Federal Way Firefighters Foundation.
Bob Cooper of Lloyd Enterprises said itll be great for the community to have a sense of permanence, even if the coming seasons tree is a shorter than residents have seen at the mall in recent years. In the past, Cooper said, the trees were tall, but they werent very pretty.
We couldnt have picked a better day to plant it. As cold as it is, its like Christmas, Cooper kidded during the morning planting on Oct. 12.
Kevin Crossen, who was raised in Federal Way and now is employed with the local fire district, worked with the firefighters foundation on funding for the tree purchase. He brought his 18-month-old son, Trey, to see the planting of the tree that will become the focus of annual community festivities.
Its great for the community to have a symbol of something they can look at every year, Crossen said. Its well overdue.
The first tree-lighting ceremony with the new tree is just over six weeks away on Dec. 1. Community members have been showing up in force for the past two years. Nearly 500 were on hand at last years lighting.
Federal Way resident Sandra Lyle has attended the lighting ceremonies in the past, and said shes glad to have a live tree for future generations to enjoy.
I think its fabulous; the only thing is its too small, said Lyle, vice-president of the Village at 330th Homeowners Association.
It will be exciting to watch it grow, Lyle said. It will be a beacon.