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Toomer’s committee to recommend replanting trees—and a temporary rolling solution—to Gogue

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The Committee to Determine the Future of Rolling Toomer’s Corner signaled today that they’ll recommend a hybrid solution to Auburn University President Dr.  Jay Gogue: replanting large trees at Toomer’s Corner that can be rolled when they’re healthy enough, coming up with a temporary way to roll the corner until they are.

That decision closely follows the report the committee published today detailing the results of last December’s request for input from the community. After digesting those emails, committee chair Dr. Debbie Shaw’s report concluded:

“An overwhelming amount of individuals stated in their comments that what was most important to them was to have something to roll soon/immediately … Thus it seems to be that the path forward should be a combination of a structure and replanting large trees.”

But whatever system is put in place to continue rollings at the corner—a system of wires has been considered—won’t be permanent. It also might not be implemented until sometime next year; the committee is hopeful that the Toomer’s Oaks will still be able to be rolled through 2012.

Shaw, also vice president for alumni affairs, told The War Eagle Reader that a replanting plan means it will be several years before new trees would be a part of the traditional toilet paper atmosphere.

“Let’s say we replant large trees. It’ll still take 3-5 fives for roots to be established in the soil,” said Shaw.  “Then of course obviously a small tree or seedling, it’d be years until there were large enough to roll. The reason [replanting] can’t be the only answer is that it doesn’t solve the charge of the committee which is really all about the future of rolling the corner. I don’t think any of us want to wait five to seven years to roll.”

That’s where the idea of some temporary, yet undefined, solution comes into the committee’s thinking.

The committee reported they received 1,232 email responses from their December request for input. Participants were asked to respond to several choices:

Option 1: Replant small oak trees in the same location as the current trees, which eventually will grow large enough for future generations to roll.

Option 2:  Replant one or two very large oak trees, which could be rolled within a few years of the roots taking hold.

Option 3:  Move the rolling tradition to the intersection of Toomer’s Corner (its original location) by building a professionally-designed, permanent structure conducive to rolling, which would become part of the village atmosphere downtown.

Option 4: Design an artificial tree or sculpture to replace the current oaks as a permanent option.

Option 5: Combine any of the above options.

The breakdown of the response:

The replies that came to the committee on how the university should move forward with Toomer's Corner.

Horticulture professor Dr. Gary Keever, also a member of the committee, suggested planting a different species than the non-native live oak.

“There are far superior trees that would be better in that situation,” said Keever.

Auburn Mayor Bill Ham, Jr. made the motion to replant and use a temporary solution. The committee’s vote sends the report to Gogue.

Related: MORE photos of Toomer’s being rolled in 1972.

More on the the Toomer’s oaks: On the feasibility of a Toomer’s Corner transplantToomer’s Corner rollings didn’t start with Punt, Bama, Punt, says History / Did Auburn students celebrate Bear Bryant’s death by rolling Toomer’s Corner?

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