UPDATE (8:50 p.m. 7/12/21): Fairhope Mayor Sherry Sullivan says the 200-year-old oak tree will be saved. The city is working with an arborist to decide what to do first, but the funding is now allocated for the work to begin.
FAIRHOPE, Ala. (WKRG) – Stacey Howell is always looking for the next subject to paint, and this time she didn’t have to search far.
“People bring their children here for photography for Easter and Christmas,” Howell said. Across the street from her home on North Bayview Avenue stands a large oak tree that’s been around for more than 200 years. She chose to paint the tree on canvas to remember it for many years to come.
“I love the bay, and I love that tree. We’ve enjoyed watching that part of our community use this bluff,” she said.
But, times have changed in recent weeks. Barricades now block access to the oak tree because of Formosan termite damage, and the fear that the tree is unstable. On Monday night, the city council will decide its fate. Mayor Sherry Sullivan tells WKRG News 5 it’ll cost about $10,000 to save the oak tree.
“The tree is part of the community. We have watched generations of people come down here to be married right there under that tree. It’s just been a blessing,” Howell said.
Three arborists have researched what can be done to rehabilitate the tree, but all agree it comes at a high price. A large crack down the tree has also made it unsafe and until a decision is reached these barricades will remain in place.