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70-foot blue spruce picked to be city's Christmas tree

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John and Pat Colomer, shown with their granddaughters, donated the 75-year-old blue spruce that will be the City of Chicago's official Christmas tree.

At the corner of Richmond and Pearl in McHenry, a 70-foot blue spruce reaches nearly as high the spire at St. Mary's Church across the street.

Property owner John Colomer had spared the tree from the ax years ago when the corner lot was cleared of overgrowth and brush. The 75-year-old tree was just too beautiful, he said.

But the tree's days have always been numbered -- the lush vacant lawn surrounding the spruce has future strip mall written all over it.

"In the not too near future, that lot is going to be developed. The tree is going to be the subject of either the woodman's ax or nature," Colomer said.

So, Colomer entered the spruce in the Chicago Sun-Times and the Mayor's Office of Special Events' contest to select the city's official Christmas tree at Daley Center Plaza. And Sun-Times readers overwhelmingly picked the Colomer tree. It received more than half of the 5,182 votes cast in the online poll.

This is the second year Chicago has decorated a single tree at Daley Plaza, and the first time people were allowed to vote on which tree would be used.