Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Why did the tree cross the road?

July 21, 2014  

The price tag for this Taco Bell tree to go was $20,000—raised by the Oak Hill community.

by Bobbie Jean Sawyer

Why did the tree cross the road? Because where it was, it stood in the way of TxDOT’s planned renovations at the intersection of Hwy. 290 West and William Cannon.

The 130-year-old heritage oak tree, known by locals as the “Taco Bell Tree,” (for the Taco Bell that used to be on that corner), was saved by an outpouring of community support when locals learned that the oak stood in the way of TxDOT’s planned CCI project (Continuous Flow Intersection). With the help of individual donors and local businesses, and after months of fundraising and community rallying, the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation raised the $20,000 needed to transplant the tree.

On Saturday morning, July 12, the tree formerly known as Taco Bell Tree, was loaded by crane onto a trailer and transported across the street to Beckett Grove, a line of oak and pecan trees east of the intersection of William Cannon and 290 named for the Beckett family, who owned the former ranch land in the 1870s. The tree has now been officially renamed the Beckett Grove oak.

According to the Austin Heritage Tree Foundation, the transplant was conducted by Environmental Design, an Austin tree moving company. Certified arborist Guy LeBlanc will monitor the tree’s health during post care. Keith Brown, another local certified arborist, has donated his time pruning the tree. John Dromgoole, owner of the Natural Gardener, donated a compost and mulch mix to benefit the tree’s overall health.

The Austin Heritage Tree Foundation still needs to raise $5,000 for traffic control expenses and post care, such as irrigation, arborist care, fertilzation, soil aeration and pest control.

To donate to the Taco Bell Tree fund:

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 mfossum@austin.rr.com  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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