A recent community movement to “save the 9 Highway Christmas trees” was never about commercializing or upstaging a longtime Parkville tradition, business owner Molly Green said Friday as she decorated evergreen trees with tinsel on the side of Missouri 9.
It was simply about preserving a community tradition that is appreciated by many in Parkville, Green said, and making sure it can continue.
The community group whose efforts last week allowed a longtime Parkville tradition to continue gathered on the highway Friday morning to adorn a few more trees for the holidays. This month, you’ll see a couple more festive firs near the Welcome to Parkville sign past the Please Stop convenience store.
“We’re just trying to get things festive again and sort everything out now that we have our permit,” said Parkville resident Andrea Clingon.
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For decades, a mysterious group has decorated a handful of Missouri 9 trees with handmade, bow-like ornaments made out of Mylar on the side of the Parkville highway. But this year, those ornaments were removed by the Missouri Department of Transportation after a citizen complaint pointed out that the secret decorators didn’t have the right permits.
A grass-roots group devoted to making sure the ornaments could go back up formed quickly and contacted state and city officials to secure the right permissions.
With the assistance of state Rep. Nick Marshall, a permit was secured to decorate highway trees just for the holiday season. Ornaments and decorations returned to Missouri 9 trees earlier this week after the original group retrieved their ornaments from City Hall and brought them back to their initial spots.
And just for fun, Christmas tree advocates decorated a few more.
While the “save the trees” group said they weren’t sure what the plan is for next holiday season — they reiterate they have no desire to encroach on the efforts of the original decorators — the incident this year has created a network of enthusiastic residents who will work out any issues in the future.
“We have an official way of doing this now, so every year someone will get the permit and with the permit we’ll be OK to decorate,” Green said. “We have a way of doing it. I think the tradition will continue another 30 or 40 years, forever.”