Tree lights coming down on the square

Gary Kilpatrick, a parks maintenance worker, removes red holiday lights from a tree on the square Wednesday morning.

Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Remember those red holiday tree lights that were possibly going to be lit year-round on the square? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

We noted it in a February City Council recap post, but never specifically followed up on the status of those lights. Sorry about that.

Lights on the tree remained lit for about a week following the annual Lights of the Ozarks display.

Photo: Brian Bailey

The ordinance, which proposed allowing the lights on a large elm tree on the square to remain lit year-round, also called for allowing restaurant and bar owners to decorate their patios with low-intensity, white lights during normal business hours.

City Council members liked the idea of giving more decorative freedom to business owners, but weren’t interested in the downtown tree being covered in holiday lights all year.

“If it was done in conjunction with a specific event, or even a weekly event like First Thursday, I’d be totally OK with it,” said Ward 2 Alderman Matthew Petty. “But I think leaving lights up year-round is a little tacky.”

Other council members, including Ward 1 Alderwoman Brenda Boudreaux, agreed.

“I think a lot of people felt that way,” said Boudreaux.

After a brief discussion, the group unanimously agreed to remove the tree lights section of the ordinance and approve the remainder of the proposal.

The city’s parks and recreation department is working to remove the lights from the tree this week.