NewsPalm Beach CountyRegion C Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach


Costs of city holiday tree displays vary around area

Posted at 4:00 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 19:13:46-05

It’s the season for boat parades and holiday tree-lighting events, but how much do the giant public Christmas tree displays people flock to around the area cost you?

The amount of money cities invest in their holiday trees seems to vary around the area. 

Sandi in Downtown West Palm Beach costs nearly $85,800 for the 600 tons of sand, construction, and sculpting.

“All the compaction and the water and carving it like a big brick, that’s what makes it stay together," said Karen Fralich, who is on the team of sculptors building Sandi this year.

The money for Sandi comes from the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency. It's funded through tax increment financing or TIF. That's a portion of property taxes in the community redevelopment area above a frozen value due to increases in real property value, which is dedicated to downtown economic development. The city's general fund does not pay for Sandi.

“I think it’s excellent," said Paul Murphy, who lives in West Palm Beach. "It’s a nice tradition. It’s a happy thing.”

"It’s not really helping out the community because we could’ve been using that money for the needy," said Dwight Juste, who also lives in West Palm Beach.

West Palm Beach also gets $45,000 from sponsors to put toward Sandi and holiday events.

The Boynton Beach CRA also uses TIF funding to pay $70,000 for holiday events, including a $36,979 50-foot rental tree.

The Stuart Main Street Association paid $7,000 to buy an 18-foot, pre-lit Christmas in 2012.

Delray Beach recently paid $800,000 for a new one-of-a-kind 100-foot Christmas tree that the city expects to last 50 years.