Washington Park Christmas tree vandalized for third straight year

Chicago News

A Christmas tree sits charred Sunday night on the city’s South Side after being vandalized for the third year in a row. 

The lighting ceremony for the Washington Park Tree was just Saturday night – before someone set fire to it at the intersection of Garfield and King Drive.  

Donna Hampton-Smith is the Washington Park Chamber of Commerce president and founder, which organizes the Christmas display. She said she received a phone call from someone saying that the tree had burned down again. 

 “It’s about unity, about bringing positive light and branding our community in a positive light,” Hampton-Smith said.  

But sadly, the sight of a vandalized Christmas tree is one community members have awoken to before. Last year, Hampton-Smith said the Washington-Park Tree was intentionally set ablaze. The year prior, a car ran the tree over.  

Also Saturday, in the same area, some volunteers with My Block, My Hood, My City suffered a setback while stringing up Christmas lights. 

They were decorating a home as part of the non-profit’s “be part of the light event” – which helps bring the holiday spirit to a stretch of king drive” when someone robbed them of some belongings. 

But community leaders are determined not to be deterred. Chicago leaders say they hope to replace the torched tree before Christmas. Police said no offender is in custody and ask anyone with information to contact the authorities.  

 “Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. We deserve it,” Hampton-Smith said. “The community of Washington Park deserves it.” 

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