CADILLAC — Too much ice, too soon.
Cadillac Director of Utilities Jeffrey Dietlin said they are done attempting to build an ice tree this year after it toppled over Tuesday.
Some warmups at the beginning of the month delayed accumulation of ice on the tree but over the weekend, frigid temperatures returned.
To create the tree, city crews hoist water nozzles high above the ground on a pole and when temperatures are cold enough, they turn on the water, which sprinkles down through a wire wrapping around the pole.
Dietlin said they were able to build up a lot of ice around the tree over the weekend but due to strong southerly winds, much of it was on only one side of the tree and on the top, creating a weight imbalance.
City workers attempted to correct the imbalance with warm water but shortly after they left the tree, which is located at the Chris Blackburn Memorial Skatepark on Chestnut Street, a passerby called to let them know they watched it tip over.
“Too much ice, combined with the warm water, it just fell,‘ Dietlin said. “We’re done for the year.‘
Next year, Dietlin said they intend to build the ice tree on city property near the Cadillac-Wexford Public Library. Dietlin said the new location is farther away from the road than the skatepark but has a parking lot nearby so people can still approach the tree and take pictures.
In past years, Dietlin said winds tended to blow the water mist onto the sidewalk and adjacent road, causing ice buildup where it wasn’t intended; that won’t be an issue in the new location, he said.
Additionally, Dietlin said they plan to anchor the tree more securely in future years so there is less of a chance it will tip over.