The “magic tree” of Lee’s Summit is lit for the holidays.
Dozens of people gathered around the tree Nov. 22 for opening night near the Paragon Star property at the intersection of Interstate 470 and View High Drive. The standalone tree has approximately 3,000 programmable lights that change colors.
The lights will remain on every night through the first week of January for the public to enjoy and take photos.
Phillip “Flip” Short led a brief tree-lighting ceremony at the northeast corner of I-470 and View High Drive. Short, who owns the 200-plus acre property, said he came across the idea of the “magic tree” after seeing one in Columbia a few years ago with his family.
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The Lee’s Summit Magic Tree started out four years ago as an fun, anonymous project to share with the community. It was grown in popularity from there, Short said.
A Facebook page set up for the Lee’s Summit Magic Tree has nearly 8,000 likes. It’s even earned its own landmark status on Google.
The way Short sees it, the tree is owned by the community and everyone is welcome.
“I woke up one morning and thought maybe we could have one for Lee’s Summit,” he said. “We had nothing out here. We took down five to 10 trees so (the tree) could be all by itself. ... There was no parking lot; there was no mulch. You came in and thought, ‘Am I even supposed to be on this property?’ It was so mysterious, and people just kept on coming and coming.”
The property that is under development where the tree is located is home to Paragon Star, a $220 million sports-themed destination attraction and mixed-use project.
Although the area is still under construction, Short said the tree is here to stay.
Those who visit the tree this year also have an opportunity to do some good as the Lee’s Summit Magic Tree is working with Operation Toy Soldier to provide toys to the children of deployed and non-deployed soldiers.
Donations of new, unwrapped toys may be dropped off at the bins located near the tree, which is open to the public through Jan. 6.
For more information about the Lee’s Summit Magic Tree, visit lsmagictree.com.