All of Mears Park will twinkle at night during the holiday season thanks to private donations ensuring that trees inside and around the downtown park will be strung with white lights.
Private donations of about $10,000 will be matched by the Lowertown Future Fund to light birch and pine trees lining the park's stream and other areas, said John Mannillo of the Friends of Mears Park. The lights are expected to go up next week.
In years past, the city covered the cost of lighting the park's trees largely through donations to a beautification program. Because donations were down and costs were up this year, Parks and Recreation Department spokesman Brad Meyer said that the city decided to light only 40 street trees on the park's periphery.
On Saturday, St. Paul will light the city's holiday tree in Rice Park and open the Wells Fargo WinterSkate ice rink for free outdoor skating. The 60-foot spruce, donated by John and Leah Labbe of St. Paul, was installed and decorated last week.