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Louisville 'Wish Tree' Keeps Hopes For Cures, Peace and Puppies

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Outside a building in Joe Creason Park, a tall, broad dogwood stands nearly bare of leaves or flowers.

But this month, it’s festooned with white paper tags, individually tied onto the branches with string, and fluttering in the breeze.

There's writing on the tags — wishes, placed there as part of a project inspired by the artist and musician Yoko Ono.

“I tell people all the time, this is not a hope tree, it’s a wish tree. It’s the wishes for you, your family, the world,” said Marty Storch, the deputy director of Louisville Metro Parks.

Near the tree outside Metro Park's administration building, crews have installed a painted mailbox with all the necessary supplies. Inside, there are pencils and blank tags. Visitors are encouraged to write a wish — anything from the personal to the political — and tie the tag to a branch. 

The connection with Yoko Ono has to do with the Imagine Peace Tower in Reykjavik, Iceland  — an outdoor art piece that Ono designed and had built in memory of her husband, John Lennon. The tower itself is a column of light that emanates from a geothermal-powered base. Ono encourages cities to establish their own “wish trees,” then send the wishes to Iceland, where they will be stored near the tower.

And that's what is planned for Louisville's Wish Tree.

Jon Reiter, spokesman for Metro Parks, has been keeping an eye on the tree, even replacing some wishes that were blown off during some windy weather. He’ll be taking the wishes down when the project ends on Dec. 24, and sending them to Reykjavik.

"We’re not quite sure, to be honest, how [Yoko Ono] gets them up there, but she pledges to get them up there, so we’re going to make sure that they’re recorded and sent to her for posterity," Reiter said.

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There were about a hundred wishes on the tree as of this week, and they range from general to very, very specific.


  • "I wish everyone would be willing to try and understand other people’s views and beliefs, and to be respectful at all times."
  • "I wish for a cure for all cancers and diseases."
  • "I wish for a healthy baby brother."
  • "I wish people had homes and Nintendo 365s."
  • "I wish my son could come home, wish my mom and dad were here, wish all the kids peace and happiness. Stop the violence."
  • "I wish for world peace and my own tv show."

Yolanda Dean stopped by in between running errands to place her wish on the tree. She heard about it on TV and thought it was a great idea.

"I need a wish for peace," Dean said. "Peace and serenity in the world. And peace to win some money so I can help the poor and needy."

Her wish included a hope for world peace, and a wish to win the lottery. She stopped to read a few of the other wishes before hopping back in the car.

"I think somebody on here’s gonna get their wish," said Dean. "I pray they do."

Storch said he's noticed a lot of people wishing good for others.

"I think you'll find more and more of that. That’s what people are thinking. They’re thinking big," Storch said.
The Wish Tree at Creason Park will be available until Dec. 24, and staffers say they hope to repeat the project next year. 

Here are some of the wishes on the tree:

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