Downtown Neighborhood Association to host first-ever tree lighting in La Crosse’s Burns Park

Police foil tree theft to keep prospects bright

LA CROSSE, Wis.  (WKBT) — The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s inaugural Christmas tree lighting planned for Friday almost got off to a dark start, after somebody stole the tree.

Fortunately, La Crosse police were able to use downtown cameras to find it.

The eventis part of the association’s efforts to transform the park, which was established in 1903 but had not served its neighborhood until recent years.

“I’ve been walking through the park for 25, almost 30 years,” said Ross Seymour, the association’s treasurer. “It was sad, for 20 years I walked through here and just no one ever used it.”

A few years ago, association members got to work, establishing a playground, installing a mural and, most recently, hosting an event in the fall.

“It’s just been a real transformation of this park,” Seymour said.

“I think a lot of people really have committed to the neighborhood,” said association member Katie Rowan-Koenen. “And really, you know, really making it a usable and a safe place for families, is what we’re really looking at.”

These leaders planned to shine a light on those efforts with a holiday tree.

But that tree was stolen, putting those plans in jeopardy.

“This morning, I walked through, and it was gone,” Seymour said.

Fortunately, using downtown cameras, La Crosse police found the stolen symbol, highlighting proactive changes its leaders brought to this space. The first annual tree lighting event is back on track, and will be in Burns Park in La Crosse from 4-6:30 p.m. on Friday.

Seymour hopes this can become a tradition for neighborhood families. One that will bring its community together for years to come.

“It will be something for people to remember for years and years, that they helped with this,” Seymour said.

The event will feature caroling and hot chocolate from Bridges Church.

It’s free and open to the public. Organizers are asking for neighbors to bring ornaments to decorate the tree. Those ornaments will be kept and used for future trees.

If you’d like to attend, there is more information on the event’s page on Facebook.

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