The median in the 1200 block of Broadway just got a lot more shade Tuesday morning.
The first of six large swamp white oak trees were planted in a new pocket park under construction in the middle of the block. Three of the nine-year-old trees more than 7 inches in diameter and weighing about 7,500 pounds each were delivered and planted as part of the privately funded $200,000 project being done by Uptown Columbus, Inc., and The Cotton Companies.
In addition to The Cotton Companies and Uptown Columbus Inc., Bruce Tile Company, Barnes/Gibson/Parnters, Alexander Electric, Trees Columbus, the city of Columbus, Columbus Water Works, Georgia Power Co., Cut Above and others have participated in the effort.
The trees are coming from Bold Spring Nursery in Hawkinsville, Ga.
The trees were going into holes that 6 feet in diameter and 40 inches deep, said project manager Steve Bruce of Bruce Tile Company. The first was was a little too large so the holes were going to have to be a little bigger.
Trees Columbus, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated for the preservation and protection of the city’s tree canopy, donated $6,000 for the purchase of the trees.
“And that was a bargain for such mature trees,” said Trees Columbus Executive Director Dorothy McDaniel.
The six trees will provide the shade for a median gathering space across from Kilwin’s, a popular downtown ice cream business. The new trees replace a mature laurel oak that was believed to be more than 80 years old when it had to be felled last year because of a fungus.
The six new trees, which all should be in the ground by Wednesday afternoon, are the biggest to be transplanted in a project that involved Trees Columbus. The 7-inch diameter trees are bigger than the 4-inch to 6-inch oak trees planted in 2009 and 2010 as part of the Veterans Parkway beautification project.
“These are big trees and they should provide instant shade,” McDaniel said.
Local businessman and developer Chris Woodruff, owner of The Cotton Companies, has been the driving force behind the pocket park, which has been in the planning stages for more than a year. Construction started in August.
“The original plan for the park did not include trees,” McDaniel said. “What we are seeing is definitely a win. But it is more than just a win for people who love trees. It is a huge win for the people who will use and enjoy that space. Trees are God’s shade structures.”
McDaniel praised Woodruff’s efforts to develop the new park.
“He has put his heart into this,” she said.