Old Town dresses up its ‘honor tree’

       With volunteer help from Colorado Springs Utilities, Old Colorado City began decorating an “honor tree” for the local military Nov. 3.
       The large blue spruce tree by the town clock at the southwest corner of 25th and Colorado was strung with red, white and blue lights that morning, thanks to Utilities workers in a bucket truck who stuck around after their “graveyard shift” early Wednesday to do the job, according to Utilities spokesperson Rachel Beck.
       The idea is to decorate the tree in honor of military members with a lighting ceremony at a date to be announced, probably after Thanksgiving, said Nancy Stovall, president of the Old Colorado City Associates (OCCA) merchants group. Utilities also used the “bucket” to help place various OCCA-provided ornaments in the roughly 25-foot-tall tree.
       “We're working with the military on a plan where kids would make ornaments for family members in Iraq, or something like that,” Stovall said, adding that the details are still being ironed out.
       This is the first year Utilities volunteers have strung Christmas lights in Old Colorado City. They have traditionally provided such a free service in both the downtown and Manitou Springs, Stovall said.
       The merchants will start putting up their traditional Christmas decorations along the avenue next week, with the effort continuing through Thanksgiving and possibly after, depending on how long it takes to complete another Utilities project in Old Colorado City - the installation of 41 new and replacement streetlights that were purchased by the Security & Maintenance District.
       Some of the merchant decorations need to be attached to the light poles. Utilities has announced plans to install the lights between Nov. 9 and 25 (Thanksgiving Day). “We'll follow the Utilities crews down the street, putting in the decorations as they put in the light poles,” Stovall predicted.

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