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Get Lit: No cost to city for tree takedown

Tree disassemble expected by end of next week, company says

Posted: January 16, 2014 - 7:02pm
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This Jan. 9 photo shows a sign in Rogers Plaza, which states Conway's 54-foot Christmas tree is under video surveillance. Get Lit, LLC announced Thursday afternoon that the tree would be disassembled by company employees at no cost to the city, and taken back to Springdale for repairs.  ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO
ERIC WHITE STAFF PHOTO
This Jan. 9 photo shows a sign in Rogers Plaza, which states Conway's 54-foot Christmas tree is under video surveillance. Get Lit, LLC announced Thursday afternoon that the tree would be disassembled by company employees at no cost to the city, and taken back to Springdale for repairs.

Get Lit, LLC says the City of Conway will not be charged for the company to take down the 54-foot artificial Christmas tree that made a home in Rogers Plaza this holiday season.

Get Lit announced the agreement in a news release Thursday.

“Details are being worked out, but we are anticipating the takedown to be done by the end of next week,” the release states. “Although we believe that any electrical issues with the tree itself and the electrical supply to Rogers Plaza have been resolved, Get Lit will be bringing the tree back to its facility in Springdale for a thorough inspection and any necessary warranty repairs.”

The announcement comes one week after Get Lit informed city officials in a Jan. 9 teleconference that Conway would be responsible for hard costs such as lodging, meals and labor of Get Lit employees. Get Lit and city officials planned to further negotiate the cost to disassemble the tree.

In a phone interview with the Log Cabin Democrat on Thursday afternoon, Get Lit Chief Operations Officer Summer Hull confirmed the tree would be taken down at no cost to the city, including Get Lit employees’ lodging, meals and labor.

“The original contract said Get Lit would not be taking down the tree, and [Conway officials] have confirmed that” Hull said. “This is Get Lit coming to Conway on its own dime, with its own staff to take [the tree] down.”

Since the Conway City Council approved the $130,000 holiday purchase and waived competitive bids in August, the tree, believed to be the largest in the state, has been met with skepticism and displeasure from several residents.

The feelings grew when sections of the tree’s lights failed. Since, Get Lit has blamed water and vandals for problems with the lighting. It is because of those issues Get Lit agreed to take the tree back to Springdale for an inspection after it was taken down.

The company said Thursday that Conway officials would have the opportunity to inspect the tree, in operation, before it is returned.

“Get Lit will also be available to consult with the city on measures that can be taken in the future to prevent vandalism to the tree,” the release states.

Get Lit Chief Executive Officer Jason Hull said in the release the project has been “very high profile” and that the company takes “a lot of pride in every project we do.”

“It’s unfortunate that there were issues both within and outside of our control that took longer than we would have wanted to get sorted out,” Hull said in the release. “However, we value the City of Conway as a customer and a partner and that is why we’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that our product worked as intended, even to the extent of fixing non-warranty issues at no charge.”

(Staff writer Lee Hogan can be reached by email at lee.hogan@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1246. Follow Lee Hogan on Twitter at twitter.com/LCD_LeeHogan.)

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Elmer Fudd
3065
Points
Elmer Fudd 01/16/14 - 08:53 pm
2
0
Keep it

in Springdale and give Conway its money back.

ARBEAR
1268
Points
ARBEAR 01/16/14 - 09:12 pm
3
0
wasted money

Tab's Tower was a waste of taxpayer's money. In my opinion the more beautiful downtown tree was in front of the courthouse and cost the taxpayers nothing.

Free agent
206
Points
Free agent 01/16/14 - 09:16 pm
2
0
I think

A simple, "Oh yeah, we'll fix it. No problem!", would've done fine.

Stella3
224
Points
Stella3 01/16/14 - 10:30 pm
3
0
No cost?

Please define "no cost". The City of Conway will be paying for this...perhaps, forever.

And btw, once this "$130k hull of holiday sea weed" is removed, what will it cost to make functional the fountain? Any repairs there, resulting from the cheer/shopping promotion, et al?

But wait, there's more... did we get steak knives with this?

####

Voter
286
Points
Voter 01/16/14 - 11:50 pm
3
0
Several people objected ?

I think that is an understatement . However - as far as I could tell people I know were the most upset at the waiving of bidding for the tree . How would we know whether we got a good contract ? We do not know if we spent more than we would have had to. Waiving of bids while convenient for a council and mayor " in a hurry " it is usually not in the best interest of the taxpayer .

357
1791
Points
357 01/17/14 - 08:41 am
6
0
Thumbs up to Get Lit

Sounds to me that Get Lit is stepping up to try and take care of a customer. No doubt they are concerned about some of the PR fallout from this project, but that should mostly be on the city's shoulders. Fact is, it appears to be in their contract (that the CITY approved) that they should be compensated for taking the tree down. Get Lit does not appear to be the villon in this issue and looks like they're trying to stand behind their product.

I think the city of Conway has demonstrated how the best of intentions for a positive community activity can go very wrong and get very expensive by circumventing processes and weak planning.

Conversely, Faulkner County (with Judge Dodson's leadership) at the same time has shown how a very similar situation can be handled with class, without taxpayer expense, and be received positively by the community.

Snuffy012150
222
Points
Snuffy012150 01/17/14 - 11:15 am
2
0
Our Old Tree

What ever happened to the natural cedar tree that was located between the bandstand and City Hall ? It used to be the City's Christmas tree and was decorated by the Fire Department and the Physical Plant. It had a beautiful shape and was decorated very nicely. There was always a lighting ceremony either before or after the Christmas Parade. It would have been more practical and a REAL tree. If my memory serves me right, that tree disappeared during the darkness of night. The Administration probably knew folks would raise hell if they saw that tree being destroyed. Therefore, the explanation of why it was done while Conway slept !

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