Melbourne oak illuminated as new nighttime landmark

Blue lights now illuminate the large oak tree every night near the Historic Downtown Melbourne arch, serving as an evening entry landmark to the New Haven Avenue commercial corridor.

At the intersection of Strawbridge and New Haven Avenues, Melbourne Main Street has added colorful blue lights to illuminate the oak tree at Harry Lawrence Park, thanks to Florida Bulb & Ballast, Inc. and Melbourne Main Street Executive Director, Jarin Eisenberg.

"There's a lot of talk in this county about our ability to attract and retain talent. And what we know at Melbourne Main Street, as an organization, is that downtown Melbourne is that missing piece of the puzzle," Jarin Eisenberg, told a crowd during last week's twilight tree lighting ceremony.

"And to really, truly support (Northrop) Grumman and Harris and all of these large tech and defense companies, we have to focus on the development of downtown Melbourne and focus on that quality of life," Eisenberg said.

"So, tonight is a symbol of those efforts," she said.

A few minutes later, Mayor Kathy Meehan flipped a switch and lit up the tree for the first time, generating applause. The oak's branches loom above Harry Lawrence Park, a triangular tenth-of-an-acre grassy area at the split of Strawbridge and New Haven Avenues.

Proceeds from the inaugural 2016 Downtown Melbourne Food & Wine Festival financed the tree lighting project, which cost close to $9,000, Eisenberg said. Crews had to install underground electrical lines beneath Harry Lawrence Park.