Although Get Lit, LLC is paying for any necessary repairs, upgrades or redesigns, the company is not disassembling the Conway Christmas Tree at no cost to the City of Conway.
During this morning’s telephone conference between city officials and Get Lit managerial staff, the City learned although Get Lit originally stated in a press release they would complimentarily disassemble the tree, that’s not what they meant, said Jack Bell, chief of staff for the City of Conway.
The press release gave reasons why sections of lights lose power, including weather, vandalism and electrical issues. The reasons were followed with the following misinterpreted statement:
“We believe the majority of the issues are resolved. However, when we disassemble the tree, we will be bringing it back to our facility to go through, top to bottom, to find and repair any problem areas and upgrade or redesign components to be more robust where necessary. All of this will be done at no cost to the City of Conway.”
Bell said the City was under the impression that Get Lit would disassemble the tree as part of the repair process, but since the tree was installed, Get Lit has been onsite eight times.
Get Lit Chief Operations Director Summer Hull said the company has done everything on their end to make sure all issues are resolved at no cost to the city.
“If they were 100 percent our fault or not,” she said in reference to the missing tree branches, unscrewed light bulbs and a burned electrical connection.
The company split up and distributed electricity in Rogers Plaza to help resolve sections of the tree being unlit and tried to go through and repair any areas where water could get to a circuit causing it to trip, but since it is impossible to go through all parts of the tree while it is fully assembled, Get Lit is taking the tree back to Springdale to go over it “top to bottom, left to right,” Hull said.
“Like a car going through a wind tunnel,” she said, “we’re going to put it through its paces, so when it comes back to Conway, there will be no issues.”
Taking down the tree was not part of the original contract between Get Lit and the City, Hull said.
When Conway’s tree was first put together, Physical Plant and the Parks and Recreation Department worked alongside Get Lit to learn how to assemble and disassemble the tree with the intention of taking it down when the time came.
“The City of Conway is in conversations with Get Lit to resolve this issue, and get the City a tree that works 100 percent of the lights, 100 percent of the time,” Bell said.
Both the company and the City are going back to discuss a compromise, Bell said, in which the City would only pay for hard costs such as lodging, meals and labor.
The City also plans to use Parks and Recreation Department and Physical Plant employees to assist in the disassembly, working their regular hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. to save on costs.
Get Lit will contact the City sometime this week with an estimate on how much it will cost to bring employees to Conway to take down the tree.
Assembling the tree cost the City of Conway $5,000.
“We’re hoping [the estimate] will be significantly less,” Bell said.
(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1215. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)