- Associated Press - Saturday, February 11, 2017

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) - Amy Heneghan’s family and former neighbors called it “that damn tree” because it obstructed their view of the mountains.

But she saw the tree as a muse.

Heneghan has been the keeper of a 30-foot blue spruce in the northeast corner of Longmont’s Loomiller Park, where she and others have been hanging positive messages written on paint samples in all colors from the tree’s lower branches.

“Part of it was to counteract the hate and the anger that’s been happening, that there were hate symbols in the park,” she said, referring to the swastikas carved into playground equipment in early January.

“Part of it was ‘cause that’s what my creative energy was telling me I needed to do.”

Heneghan said she can see what she named the Positivi-Tree from her house and she is hopeful that the now-700 notes will multiply up its branches. The messages are hung from garlands wrapped around the tree, reported the Times-Call (https://bit.ly/2lhU45s).

“In my mind, it fills the tree,” she said. “Like, the birds in ‘Snow White’ are coming and hanging the garlands. It’s been a pretty cool thing.”

The Positivi-Tree will be a Longmont Art in Public Places installation until about mid-March.

One note says, “Not all heros (sic) wear capes,” and another written on a yellow card says, “I love the bees.”

Lauren Greenfield, Longmont Art in Public Places administrator, said the idea was officially approved late last year by the AIPP commission as a temporary piece meant to evoke unity and hope in the future.

“I think it’s really commendable that a citizen resident started this so organically and that it’s grown and so many people are interested and I hope everybody makes time to go see it and write their own messages,” Greenfield said.

Ali Tripp, who used to live near the park, but has since moved to Loveland, said she helped decorate the tree at a kickoff on Jan. 22. She was walking dogs on a recent visit to the park.

“The coolest thing I thought about the garland is as we were hanging it up, it seemed to reach itself and connect all the way around,” she said. “We had three or four different ones and they always met. They seemed to connect.”

Heneghan said she chose paint samples because they’re sturdy, but also because they represent every color, shape and size, which is symbolic of the differences among people.

“It’s really helped me in dealing with my feelings as far as what’s going on in the world and focusing on the positive and any nugget that I could find, writing it down and telling everybody I know,” Heneghan said.

Her favorite note that she wrote says, “She believed she could so she did.”

“I believed I could decorate this tree,” Heneghan said.

The only adversity she has witnessed, she said, was a jogger who stopped and tore down the strings, saying, “‘This is garbage. Who put this up here?’”

But minutes later, Heneghan said, a woman came up to her to tell her it’s a lovely idea.

Heneghan said major partners have been Left Hand Brewing Company, OUR Center, Soft Voices and her employer, Aspen Center for Child Development.

Paint samples are available at the base of the tree.

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Information from: Daily Times-Call, https://timescall.com/

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