The park that houses a popular ancient tree located outside Charleston may soon grow exponentially.
The Charleston County Council meets Tuesday night to discuss approving the county’s Greenbelt Bank Board purchase of 17 acres of property that surrounds the historic Angel Oak on Johns Island.
The county council’s Finance Committee has approved the board’s contribution of $2.4 million toward the purchase of the property. The rest of the $3.6 million price tag for the land will come through fundraising. The Lowcountry Open Land Trust will handle the purchase on behalf of the bank. The trust has a contract on the property which requires that it be purchased by Sept. 30.
The trust’s executive director Elizabeth Hagood praised the deal, saying it would keep the land protected from development. “This tree, in order to survive… it needs to be situated near a forest and other trees.”
Angel Oak, which is estimated to 700 years old (and possibly as old as 1,400 years), is a massive live oak tree that covers over 17,000 square feet with shade. The small amount of land immediately surrounding the tree is owned by city of Charleston. The additional 17 acres became available when nearby land purchased for development ended up in foreclosure instead.
The Finance Committee approved the deal on two conditions— that the nonprofit Carolina Homeless Veterans be able to use five acres for farming, and that the park be run by the Charleston County Park & Recreation Commission.
South Carolina Radio Network will bring you updates from Tuesday night’s meeting.
Sheree Bernardi of Charleston affiliate WTMA filed this report