New Martial Arts Studio Under Construction In Shadow Of Landmark Tree
As Short Pump has transitioned from a rural outpost to suburban destination over the past decade and a half, much of the rural character and landmarks that dotted the landscape before the expansive commercialism have faded away. Much of the area has been clearcut for shopping developments as well, but one landmark tree still remains, […]
As Short Pump has transitioned from a rural outpost to suburban destination over the past decade and a half, much of the rural character and landmarks that dotted the landscape before the expansive commercialism have faded away. Much of the area has been clearcut for shopping developments as well, but one landmark tree still remains, and several new buildings are creeping in under its gnarled, expansive branches.
The huge oak can be seen from Short Pump Town Center to West Broad Village and points beyond and is noted by many for its near-perfect symmetry. It’s also known to those who used to live in rural homes under its shade as the “Alligator Tree” because of its exposed roots that seem to form the shape of an alligator’s head at its base.
When Merchant’s Tire & Auto was under construction in 2009, the oak’s former owner wrapped red ribbon around the tree with a photo of her as a child, playing under the tree in the 1960s, reading “Please save my tree.”
While efforts by Henrico Planning Commission members have been made that require developers building near the tree to consult with an arborist to protect the root system, a new building is being constructed dangerously close to the landmark oak.
Master Cho’s Karate is building a two-story martial arts studio in the Downtown Short Pump shopping center, between the tree and Pouncey Tract Road. While a perimeter has been staked off to prevent construction equipment from driving over the roots, many wonder if it’s enough to protect one of the last holdouts of the Short Pump of days past.
“Is anyone else concerned about [the martial arts building] being built so close to that gorgeous tree,” reader Amy King wrote into us. “Seems to me the sun will not get to the other side of the tree, and it will die.”
With moderate drought conditions and the stress of development on three sides of the “Alligator Tree,” only time will tell if the tree that’s watched over Short Pump and all its changes for many decades, and possibly centuries, will continue to stand proud.
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