After months of rallying, the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation has met the $20,000 fundraising goal to transplant the heritage oak at the intersection of William Cannon and U.S. 290, but additional funds are still needed to move the tree.
Michael Fossum, executive director of the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation, said an additional $5,000 is needed for traffic control during the transplant.
Fossum said any funds collected that exceed the cost of the transplant would be applied to post care for the tree.
The date for removing the tree is dependent on the removal of the AT&T fiber optic lines at the site, Fossum said.
“There is not a certain date for that to occur so our start date is a bit fuzzy at this point, but hopefully we will start within the next two weeks,” Fossum said.
The historic oak, known by locals as the Taco Bell Tree, currently stands in the way of TxDOT’s planned continuous flow intersection renovations in the area.
In mid-November, a feasibility study conducted by a team of certified experts, including the city arborist, determined that the tree was able to be transplanted across U.S. 290 to Beckett Grove, a line of oak and pecan trees east of the intersection of 290 and William Cannon, named for the Beckett family who owned the former ranch land in the 1870s. The location was frequently used as a campsite by travelers heading into Austin, and a picnic spot for family reunions.
Fossum said he credits the community’s generosity and TxDOT’s flexibility for saving the beloved tree.
“Community support has been very strong, with more than 250 donors sending in donations. Donations have been as small as $5, and as large as $3,000. The Oak Hill Brownie troop sent in half of the proceeds from their cookie sales (almost $300) to help the tree.” Fossum said. “On the behalf of the community we would like to thank the City of Austin and the Texas Department of Transportation for making this project possible. TxDOT could have removed the tree in September as scheduled, but instead chose to give the community time to raise the funds necessary to transplant the tree.”
Ways to Donate
· Send a check to the Austin Parks Foundation, 507 Calles Street, Ste. 116, Austin, TX 78702. Make sure to write “Austin Heritage Tree Foundation- Taco Bell Tree” on the memo line.
· Call the Austin Parks Foundation at 512-477-1566 ext. 1 to donate by phone. Specify that your donation is for the “Austin Heritage Tree Foundation- Taco Bell Tree.”
· Donate with a credit card at this link: https://www.austinparks.org/adopter-donations.html. Click on the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation box.
For all donations, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the amount and donor’s name and specify that the donation is for the Taco Bell Tree. The Austin Heritage Tree Foundation operates under the Parks Foundation, which manages the tree fund. Donations are tax deductible. For more information visit www.austinheritagetreefoundation.com.
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