Community scrambles to secure funds for Angel Oak
There are only two weeks remaining to raise $280,000 and prevent Dominion Realty Partners from developing an apartment complex and commercial space on the remaining land around the Angel Oak Tree. If you aren’t familiar with the Angel Oak, located at the Angel Oak Park on Johns Island, then you definitely need to add taking a trip to see the 1400+ year old Southern live oak to your bucket list.
The City of Charleston has owned the tree and surrounding park since 1991 and in 2012 the conversation about development began. The plans are to build a 250-unit apartment community that would be 160 yards away from the Angel Oak. This has been challenged by the Save the Angel Oak group along with the Coastal Conservation League because of the danger that the construction would have on the roots of the tree by disturbing groundwater and nutrients.
The Lowcountry Open Land Trust, a local land conservation organization that is focused on protecting significant Lowcountry lands, created the Angel Oak Preserve and has worked vigorously to raise the necessary funds to permanently protect the land. In addition to the 9 acres that the City of Charleston owns, the trust raised $3.6 million and purchased 17 acres near the tree last year. Over $3 million has been raised by numerous corporations and private donors throughout the Lowcountry so that the trust can buy the remaining 18.7 acres, according to the Charleston Regional Business Journal.
If the remaining amount is not secured by March 14th, Dominion will move forward with its building plans. Adrian Cain is the trust’s development director and is hopeful that they will meet their goal to buy the remaining land in time.