Prairie Village “Happy Tree” grows with positive attitudes

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PRAIRIE VILLAGE, Kan. -- For people who live in one Prairie Village neighborhood, a tree has become a source of pride. Neighbors near the intersection of 69th Street and El Monte have discovered the special tree, inviting everyone to share what makes them happy.

People in the Prairie Village neighborhood started taking notice during the weekend and now the tree in a small park has taken on a new identity -- "the Happy Tree."

Neighbors such as Katie Trenkle are bringing their families to the tree to fill out a tag and hang it on the tree to share what makes them happy with everyone who might read it.

Trenkle and her children say they first came across the tree on Sunday evening, and the idea made a great impression on them.

The sign posted on the tree in that neighborhood's traffic island park advises onlookers to use the marker, a paper tag and a piece of wire.

"We were talking about how interesting it is to see the different ages represented on the tags," Trenkle said.

The hope is that sharing one's personal joys with others will build community pride.

Trenkle and her family are in the process of moving from one home near the "Happy Tree" to another.

"We decided to stay in the neighborhood rather than move somewhere else because we are so happy here," Trenkle said. "I think our neighbors agree. We choose to live here for a reason. It's a really happy place."

And no one is taking credit for the idea.

Trenkle isn't alone. Bob Milgrin also resides near the "Happy Tree." He says the pride on each tag is indicative of how neighbors feel about living here.

"It keeps up with the spirit of the neighborhood," Trenkle said. "It adds a little interest. It adds joy to the day when you walk by and see all the messages."

FOX 4 News talked with two other happy neighbors off-camera, both of whom commented that they love the "Happy Tree," and that it's little things like this that keep their property values up and potential new neighbors wanting to move to Prairie Village.

Some neighbors are comparing the "Happy Tree" to those mailbox libraries that have been popping up across Johnson County.

Click here for Sean McDowell's FOX 4 News Facebook page.

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