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A Christmas Tree Grows (and Moves) in Norwalk

NORWALK, Conn. – Colin and Nicole Grotheer can finally watch the sun set. And after a nearly 30-year absence, Norwalkers will have their own Christmas tree.

On Monday morning, workers from Almstead Tree Co. arrived at the couple's West Rocks Road home and removed a 40-foot pine that had stood for nearly a half-century in the front yard. They hoisted it over utility wires with a crane and onto a flatbed truck for the trip to SoNo, where it will become the city's official Christmas tree beginning Dec. 1.

"We bought the house about two years ago and were approached by some other businesses who were interested in getting the tree," said Grotheer, who works for a SoNo architecture firm. "We turned them down. But then this year Eric Rains from the SoNo Collaborative mentioned he wanted to get a tree put up in SoNo, and I told him we had one that might work."

Rains contacted Norwalk Parks director Mike Mocciae, and the wheels started turning quickly, culminating in the cutting and transporting of the tree this week.

"The SoNo Collaborative is a nonprofit group dedicated to bringing events to the area," said Rains. "The city used to have its tree [in SoNo] for years, but that ended in the '80s. We thought this was a good time to bring back the tradition." The tree's holiday home will be on Washington Street in the small park in front of the newly renovated Averick building.

Meanwhile, the Grotheers will have to get used to a big open space in their front yard. "It should make the house a lot brighter," said Colin. "Even with a big picture window, our living room was pretty dark."

He'll have more than just memories of the big tree, too. Workers sawed off a big slice of the stump, and Grotheer plans to turn it into a table or bowl. "Something to remember the tree by."

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