The recommendation that one or more large trees replace the Toomer’s Oaks, and for a temporary solution to be developed and implemented in order to continue the tradition of rolling Toomer’s Corner, was approved by Auburn University president Dr. Jay Gogue earlier this week.
The recommendation was delivered to Gogue by the Committee to Determine the Future of Rolling Toomer’s Corner after it met last Tuesday to discuss the results of its December survey of fan opinion on the matter.
“Dr. Gogue did approve the recommendation of the committee and we’re moving forward this week,” says Auburn University Communications Director Mike Clardy.
Or rather they’ll be moving forward if the Toomer’s Oaks do indeed die.
“As we’ve been saying all along, the next step is assessing the health of the current trees,” Clardy says.
Sadly, the assessment is still pretty grim.
During last Tuesday’s committee meeting, Toomer’s Task Force point person Dr. Gary Keever, an endowed professor in Auburn’s Department of Horticulture, expressed doubts that the oaks would live to see another football season. “I would not bet they’d be alive next fall,” Keever told the committee when asked to estimate the trees’ life expectancy.
But dead or alive, the Toomer’s Oaks will likely still be roll-able through the end of the year.
“Live oak wood is hard,” Keever said. “If you want to roll them, fine.”
“We’re not going to wait to spring to start planning,” Clardy says. “We’re already kicking around ideas of what to do once we determine whether the oaks are going to live or not. It’s all contingent on these two trees. If they die, we’ll move forward and try to find one or more large oaks to replace them.”
Clardy says a new committee will be tasked with the job of deciding how to remove and replace the Oaks, and with what species [this kind is probably the frontrunner].
There will also likely be a new committee to handle the other part of the recommendation, namely how to continue rolling the corner during the 3-5 years Keever and Co. estimate it will take for the new trees to be able to handle the stress of being rolled.
“That’s the other decision that has to be made,” Clardy says, “but there’s not a tremendous rush to sudddenly create something for the fall since the trees (Toomer’s Oaks) will still more than likely be good to roll.”
Clardy says the specifics of whatever possible structure might be built specifically to be rolled haven’t been discussed since the the Committee to Determine the Future of Rolling Toomer’s Corner’s last meeting. But according to committee member Jeff Ramsey, Director of Public Works for the City of Auburn, a system of wires is likely to receive the greatest consideration.
“We’ll probably have that discussion sometime this year,” Clardy says, “but a temporary structure wouldn’t really need to be in place until next year.”
“There are a lot of decisions that still need to be made.”
Eagle Eye News recently interviewed Clardy about the future of rolling Toomer’s. You can watch it here.
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