OGDEN, NC (WWAY) — The Ogden Oak tree has stood for two centuries at what is now Ogden Marketplace, where a new Publix is being built.
The tree is in the way of development, but instead of cutting down this living piece of history, a different plan is in order: relocation.
“This developer made it a goal of his to preserve as many of the trees as he possibly could. Putting in, obviously, the commerce part of it, the shopping center here and all of the utilities, but he did a magnificent job in preserving as many of the trees as he possibly could,” said Wilmington mayor Bill Saffo.
Massive airbags will lift the tree while compressed air is used to free the root system from the dirt and transport the tree to its new location.
The City of Wilmington, Halpern Enterprises, and Connolly Tree Preservation have done a lot of planning to save the Ogden Oak.
“I think it’s real exciting for Wilmington. The canopy in this city is spectacular. The council’s behind it, the mayor’s behind it, and the people are behind it. It’s absolutely wonderful,” said Greg Connolly of Connolly Tree Preservation.
The mayor says it was all worth it keep history alive.
“We saved this beautiful, 200-year oak tree as opposed to cutting it down. We moved it. We have demonstrated to the community that these things can be done, that we don’t have to cut down trees of this magnitude. We can save them and preserve them,” said Saffo.
When old trees have been removed in the past to make room for new development, there has often been a public outcry.
The city and everyone else involved hope this way of relocating the trees can serve as a precedent.