Planned Consumers Energy work is jeopardizing a local holiday landmark.
The city of Owosso is hoping to save their famous Christmas tree.
Most people usually take down their Christmas lights shortly after the holiday itself, but for Ron Ackels and his famous Owosso Christmas tree, he’s just now getting to it.
In the early 80s for Arbor Day, Ackels' son brought a sapling home to be planted in their front yard.
The young tree went from being held in a small paper cup, survived one transplant, and grew to more than 45 feet tall.
“We weren’t sure it was going to make it but it did,” Ackels said.
One holiday season, the family decided to deck out the tree in hundreds of lights.
A few decades later, they’ve been putting thousands on it, more than 50,000 to be exact.
“It gets to be a bit of a job but it’s worth it,” Ackels said.
Worth it because people from all over the state come to witness the famous Owosso Christmas tree in person.
It’s even got it’s own Facebook page. But with age comes growing pains.
Recently Ackels received a notice on his door from Consumer’s Energy that his tree was on the list to be trimmed to make a snug service line safer.
“They have to do their job and I try to do mine,” Ackels said.
Worst case scenario, the tree could lose a few limbs, lose its shape, or get the top of it taken off completely.
News spread quickly and after lots of passionate community outreach, Ackels said Consumer's agreed to let him take the lights down and trim it himself.
After the job’s complete, Consumer's will come to check on the tree again.
Ackels is optimistic the compromise will be the best for everyone’s safety and hopefully the decades to come for the Owosso Christmas tree.
Besides, they already bought another 20,000 lights for next year.
“It’s our thanks to the community so we’re glad to do it,” Ackels said.