Community finally meets the man behind the ‘Magic Tree’ in Lee’s Summit at first lighting ceremony

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- A seasonal attraction now lights up the sky in Lee's Summit. This year, for the first time, crowds got to look on during a public lighting ceremony for the "Magic Tree."

The tree, located in a field just north of Interstate 470 at View High Drive, earned its name because up until now it’s been a mystery who lights the tree or why.

On Wednesday night the man behind Magic Tree, developer Phillip “Flip” Short, led a brief lighting ceremony for the tree.

Short said despite new construction in the area, the tree will remain on site.

“People always think it’s coming down because of construction and everything like that," he said. "It is moving it’s roots, so it’s going to be moved a little bit further down when the construction starts. But it will be part of Paragon Star, and it’s really owned by the community."

Thousands of people visit the tree every year to take pictures and marvel at its lights. This year visitors can donate toys to Operation Toy Solider, which is a charity benefiting military families.

“The toys go to a lot of bases where there’s young couples that have children that don’t have the money for brand new toys. We’re really excited about being involved in that program this year,” Short said.

The Magic Tree is located in an area that is currently being converted into a $220 million mixed-use venue called Paragon Star. The sports-themed complex will feature various entertainment, retail and living spaces for the public.

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