Reading opts for artificial Christmas tree; mayor wants 'Charlie Brown Tree' on mountain

Mayor elaborates on vision for city's new tree

READING, Pa. - Reading will replace the city's infamous 2014 "Charlie Brown Tree" with a 34-foot tall artificial Christmas tree.

The notorious "Charlie Brown Tree," as it was known, drew international media attention in 2014 and was considered by many outside city limits to be symbolic of the city itself, but Mayor Wally Scott said he was fond of the tree.

"I actually liked that ‘Charlie Brown Tree,'" Scott said at Monday's council committee of the whole meeting.

Scott said he wants to find a tree that looks similar to a "Charlie Brown Tree" on the mountain overlooking Fifth and Penn streets, the site of the artificial tree, and adorn and light the tree so people will see it "looking down" at the artificial tree when they cross the Penn Street Bridge.

"There's our Charlie Brown Tree on the mountain and there's our artificial tree on Fifth and Penn," he said.

Scott said he hopes to build a theme revolving around the two trees and possibly finding "Charlie Brown" trees in other city neighborhoods, decorating and lighting them for a sense of citywide unity.

The mayor said he also wants to use his own money to enhance his neighborhood by adding a smaller artificial tree to the corner of North Ninth and Washington streets. He added that the Snoopy dog house will also make its return to the corner of Fifth and Penn as an homage to the 2014 tree.

The new tree will cost $21,000, with most of the funds coming from private entities; it will have the ability to transform into a 50-foot tree by adding four feet per year.

Several council members are in agreement with the artificial tree, citing factors such as the waste associated with sawing down trees every year, and the overall cost of transporting a real tree.

"It's easier to manage and you don't have to worry about the controversy of cutting down trees. It just makes sense," Councilman Brian Twyman said.

"Christmas is Christmas; anything you can do to light the kids' eyes up is a good idea. It makes sense," added Council President Jeffrey Waltman."

The city will likely look into the mayor's idea with the holiday season looming.

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