Ellis Square will remain Christmas tree-free another year - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Ellis Square will remain Christmas tree-free another year


It may be Christmas time, but some people aren't feeling, or at least seeing, the holiday spirit in some parts of downtown Savannah.

In Ellis Square, something seems to be missing again this year. The fountains are flowing. People are not exactly bundled up and it doesn't feel like the holidays, but the very first person we asked what is missing from Ellis Square went into specific detail without any hesitation.

"Decorations are missing. A lot of  them. We don't see anything. A lot of people been asking. The Christmas tree. The lights. Nothing on the lamp posts. No decorations at all. It's so dead out here," Danielle Travet told WTOC. 

"I don't see the Christmas tree. How bout that. No decorations at all. I don't see anything," Herman Board said.

It's not just the people who visit Ellis Square daily who have noticed, but the businesses and people who work around the square. They are not happy.

Remember the Savannah Holly Days sponsored by Visit Savannah? Ellis Square used to be a festival of lights, with skating on Broughton Street and a huge Christmas tree. Not anymore.

The Holly Days are a memory now. The last two years, the tree has been a memory too.

In 2011, Visit Savannah gifted Savannah the base of the Christmas tree. They rented the actual tree each year for the event.

The city did not decorate or hold the event in Ellis Square. Instead, they sold the base of the tree in an online auction and the money, $7,000, was used to decorate Broughton Street.

Since the city says the costs to buy a tree for Ellis Square would be close to $25,000 to $30,000 plus storage and maintenance, the city taking on the task of decorating Ellis Square was not an option.

The city told WTOC commercial grade decorations are also expensive, but if an outside group wants to step in they are more than welcome.

"Well hopefully someone will think about it and get busy," Board told WTOC.

 City officials tell me they want to work with community partners in 2014 to update holiday decorating efforts which will complement the historic character of our downtown.  

If anyone is interested they can contact the city tourism administrator Bridget Liddy at 912.429.3364.

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