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Annual holiday manger missing from park, city explains why

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - A nativity scene of the birth of Jesus and a menorah, both of which help light up the park during the holiday season.

We're talking about the holiday manger. It's an annual tradition for the City of Elmira.

"It's been a staple in Downtown Elmira for many years," Michael Collins, Elmira City Manager, said "It represents the holiday season."

He said the manger was originally supposed to be put up last week. The weather prevented it from being set up.

"From what I have been told by our Buildings and Grounds Department, last week the weather with the saturation of the snow," Collins explained, "the ground was too saturated for the manger to be placed, but the manger will be placed by the end of this week."

He specified either Thursday or Friday.

The current manger is two-years-old. The old manger was destroyed by a fire in 2016.

A 24-year-old man was charged for that fire. Investigators said he lit a receipt and the flames caught the hay-stacks. The man fled the scene and did not report the fire.

Collins added the city will do all it can to protect the manger.

"There is lighting in the park, we do have patrol 24 hours a day, 7 days a week," Collins said. "With that heightened awareness to the manger and what has occurred before in the past, that certainly will be a priority for the city."

After that fire, the community came together to help rebuild the new manger. Stick with 18 News as we bring you the latest on the manger.

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