VILLAGE OF FAYETTEVILLE – Fayetteville’s memory tree has been replaced in kind after the previous one was taken down due to disease.
The seasonally illuminated tree has long been located on the rectangular median space across the road from the attached village hall and firehouse at 425 E. Genesee Street.
The tree is a way for villagers to memorialize the loved ones in their lives who have passed. With all proceeds benefiting the Fayetteville Senior Center down the street, community members purchase blue light bulbs that are strung around the needles and branches.
The fundraiser was started by local resident Doris Baldwin in 1979, and it has helped to support the center with its programming year to year ever since.
“The tree is about the memory of loved ones that we’ve lost,” Fayetteville Mayor Mark Olson said. “It’s just about keeping that tradition alive in the village, and it’s something special.”
Olson said having the tree in the heart of the village has allowed people to catch a glimpse of the bulbs as they walk or drive by.
The prior tree, a blue spruce, had been in poor shape and could no longer take the weight of the lights, he said, and so the time had come to cut it down and replace it.
“The whole back half of it was basically coming off,” Olson said. “We knew for a couple years that it was getting brittle and limp, but the nice thing about this new one is it’s not subject to the same disease that that tree was.”
Aspinall’s Tree Nursery & Landscaping placed the new 18-foot Norway spruce in the same place as before on Nov. 13, just in time for the annual tree lighting ceremony taking place Friday, Nov. 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. by the fire station.
That event will include music, hot cocoa, wagon rides and visits from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.
The new tree was purchased with a monetary donation provided by the family of the late Henry McIntosh, the former mayor of the village of Fayetteville from 1996 to 2004.
Preceding his time as mayor, McIntosh was a village trustee for over 10 years, a member of Fayetteville’s zoning board of appeals for two years, and chair of the Town of Manlius Zoning Board of Appeals. Along with his wife, Donna, McIntosh was also a continuing supporter of the Fayetteville Senior Center until they both passed away in 2021.
“To have that tree in his honor by his family is paying tribute to him and his legacy in our village,” Olson said.
During the Fayetteville Village Board’s Nov. 13 meeting, Olson said there’s pland to create a plaque honoring Henry McIntosh for his service to the community and his family for their helpful donation.
Though it’s a smaller tree right now, it should grow to about the same height as the other in 10 or 15 years’ time, Olson said, adding that he thinks it will be a “much hardier tree.”
In addition to making sure it was staked down properly, Aspinall’s mulched the tree and trimmed it and will monitor it to see when it needs fertilizer or other upkeep.
In other news
The Fayetteville Village Board has only one meeting scheduled for the month of December. It will take place Monday, Dec. 18 at 6 p.m.