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Topeka’s Evergy Plaza gets first Christmas tree on Tuesday morning

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 12:02 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Evergy Plaza, a community gathering space that opened earlier this year in downtown Topeka, received its first Christmas tree on Tuesday morning.

The 20-foot-tall white spruce was cut down around 8 a.m. Tuesday from land owned by Shawnee County Parks and Recreation near S.W. Shunga Drive and Randolph.

The tree, which was donated by the Parks for All Foundation, was then moved on a flatbed trailer to Evergy Plaza, on the northeast corner of 7th and S. Kansas Avenue, where crews used a crane equipped with a long cable and hook to move it to its base.

Bettis Contractors and Capital Crane helped cut down the tree and move it to Evergy Plaza.

Ashlee Spring, a spokeswoman for Evergy Plaza, said she was delighted the tree made it to its downtown location.

“We’ve been working on getting this tree down here and getting ready for the holidays for a long time,” Spring said. “It’s so nice to finally come together on Dec. 1 so we’re going to be ready for the holidays in downtown Topeka.”

The tree will be decorated over the next few days.

A “virtual” Christmas tree-lighting ceremony will take place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday and can be viewed on the Evergy Plaza Facebook page.

In past years, the community Christmas tree was placed in front of the Evergy headquarters building at 818 S. Kansas Ave.

It was moved for the first time this year to its new location at Evergy Plaza.

Though there won’t be an in-person tree-lighting ceremony this year because of coronavirus concerns, area residents are invited to view the tree on an individual basis.

“We are excited to be the new home of the community Christmas tree and begin a new tradition for the Topeka community,” said Evergy Plaza director John Knight. “While we are not able to gather for this ceremony, we hope community members come to Evergy Plaza throughout the holidays to see the tree in person.”

The “virtual” tree-lighting ceremony will be held in conjunction with the “Miracle Around the Statehouse” parade, which will take place Saturday evening in downtown Topeka.

The parade, which in years past has taken place along S. Kansas Avenue, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday around the Statehouse, 300 S.W. 10th Ave., to allow for social-distancing because of COVID-19.

Those attending the parade can stay in their own vehicles and enter the route near S.W. 12th and Jackson, then proceed slowly around the Statehouse, where floats and decorated vehicles will be lined up for viewing.

Attendees may bring canned goods for Harvesters and drop them off on the parade route at S.W. 10th and Jackson.

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