Dentists donate mayor's Christmas trees

Mike Genet

Zach Meiners remembers when the blue spruce tree now lit up outside the Independence Uptown Market went into the ground as a sapling.  

Same for the tree in the middle of Winner Road in the Englewood Arts District, which was lit up for the first time Friday evening. They are two of the four Mayor's Christmas trees added this year to Independence's holiday celebration.  

Independence Parks and Recreation crew members remove a spruce tree to be used as one of mayor’s Christmas trees around the city. The trees were planted in the late 1980s and had grown too big for the area behind Meiners Dentistry.

“I planted those trees with my dad when I was 8 years old,” said Meiners, who along with his father Don runs a longstanding dentistry practice off Lynn Court near 39th Street and Noland Road. “Those things have been growing for the past 30 years. We heard they were looking for a tree, and some of them had gotten too big for the area.” 

According to Donna Meiners, Zach’s mother, the four trees went into the ground behind the dentist office in 1987. 

“They were little saplings,” Zach Meiners said. “We put them in the yard, and I would mow around them.” 

Four years ago, another Independence citizen donated a 20-foot spruce from their property that was replanted in Hiram Young Park and served as the new Mayor's Christmas tree. That tree isn't as full as years past, though, and Mayor Eileen Weir asked to look for an additional tree or two. 

“We knew the city needed some trees. We said, 'Hey, we've got what they need,'” Zach Meiners said. “My dad called up and talked to the people about that. They came and got them a few weeks ago.” 

“Once we learned we were getting four, we were trying to think about where to put them,” Weir said. 

To help decorate the trees, the mayor has enlisted hundreds of Independence School District fourth graders to create eco-friendly ornaments that will be gathered next week. 

“I challenge you to find any city in America that has four trees,” Weir said at the end of Monday's City Council meeting. “We tried to put one in a lot of different areas in the city so everyone can come out and enjoy them.” 

Meiners said earlier this week he and his family had not seen the Uptown Market tree, which got lit up along with the Square last Friday, but when he does it might have a life-coming-full-circle feel. 

“That's on the weekend docket to do,” he said. “It would be cool to tell my 8-year-old self that they would become Christmas trees for the city.”