The Culver park board has officially approved a proposed plan to save a 100-plus-year old weeping mulberry tree located in the west end of the park.
As reported in an earlier article here (http://www.thepilotnews.com/content/effort-save-historic-tree-culver-park), the tree was slated for destruction last month when community outcry and the efforts of park volunteer Ruth Tamminga led to the board reconsidering, provided Tamminga and any interested citizens offer a specific plan to protect the tree as well as the public, in light of perception that its age and fragility could lead to liability-causing injury.
Ten attendees at a special "Save Our Tree" meeting July 9 concluded that a fence, planned to match the black, metal fencing around part of the east end of the park, could be erected around the tree, likely at four foot in height. Landscaping would likely include ground cover, such as mulch, within the fence to prevent park staff from needing to mow it. A sign explaining the significance of the tree is also hoped to be included. At its July 13 meeting, the park board approved the idea.
Towards that end, an online Gofundme account has been set up to solicit donations for the tree, here: http://www.gofundme.com/zb7y4j8. The goal is to raise $8,000 towards the project, though park board member Patty Stallings reported at the July 14 Culver town council meeting that no solid figures had been determined yet by the committee as to the final cost of the fencing.
Stallings acknowledged that some "good questions" had been raised via Facebook about the fund-raiser.
"People asked, "How can we give money to the park when we remember the picket (fence fund-raiser for a community-built playground several years ago) and the lack of accounting (at the time),'" said Stallings.
The park board, she explained, has a tax-deductibe gift fund accounted for by the board as well as Culver's clerk-treasurer. Money donated would be earmarked for the Culver park gift fund and designated for the Save Our Tree fund.
In the meantime, the park board has asked the committee to tape off the tree area ahead of this weekend's Lake Fest, to protect the tree and ensure optimal safety.
"They hope to move quickly," added Stallings, "and do it (erect the fence) this year."