Toombs County Libraries to Close During November
Memorial Tree Will Be Protected During Construction
Behind the scenes, preparations for the renovation of the Vidalia branch of the Ohoopee Regional Library System (ORLS) have been happening for well over a year. This fall season will begin to reveal more visible workings as the building plans roll out. In addition to the temporary closing of the two libraries in Toombs County, the beloved memorial tree in front of the building on Jackson Street will experience changes as well.
Libraries Temporarily Closing
In order to pack and move books and materials from the Vidalia Library to the Nellie Brown Memorial Library in Lyons, both locations will be closed from November 4 through the end of the month. Volunteers will be packing boxes and a moving company specialized in moving libraries will do the heavy work of disassembling shelving and moving the boxes. The Vidalia City School Board has generously offered space in the old VHS library for some books to be stored during the next year. The most popular books and needed materials will be housed in the Nellie Brown Library, located at 166 West Liberty Street, across from Lyons First Baptist Church. This location will be opened up as soon as possible after Thanksgiving, and will be the main Toombs County Library for the next year while the Vidalia library undergoes renovations.
The Ladson Genealogical Library located downtown across from the Meadows Street park will be open for computer use during the move in November. There will be no due dates or fines charged during this time.
Memorial Southern Live Oak to be Protected The public should not be alarmed as the Gregory M. Williamson Memorial Southern Live Oak tree begins to literally take a different shape in the coming weeks. The proper trimming of the tree will make it healthier and continued from page
will extend its life, as well as protecting it during construction at the library site. Good stewardship of this state tree of Georgia may help it achieve the over 200-year life span that this species has.
The tree was planted by Williamson’s Vidalia High School Class of 1985 to honor the classmate that they lost. Williamson was 22 years old in 1989, completing his last semester as a building science major at Clemson University, when he lost his life during a recreational outing with friends at the Rainbow Falls on the Horsepasture River near Cashiers, North Carolina.
In a 1989 article of The Advance, Williamson’s mother, Judy, said he touched the lives of so many people, and thanked the compassionate people of Vidalia for supporting the family in their loss. The VHS Class of 1985 contributed an ongoing memorial that has provided beauty and shade at the library for over 30 years. The sapling planted by the class has grown to an estimated 35 feet. The crown has spread to about 65 feet.
About 2005, a memorial plaque was provided by Greg’s brother, Glen Williamson, which Glen placed on a brick exterior wall beside the tree. The library Trustees honor the fact that the Live Oak tree has sentimental and aesthetic value to the Williamson family and to the public, and will provide nurturing and protection for it throughout the construction process. Arborist Consultation
ORLS Director Cameron Asbell consulted with Arborist Jerry Holcomb of Waycross for a thorough evaluation of the tree’s health, and for a recommendation for preserving the tree for future generations to enjoy. Presently, the Live Oak is found to have a moderate risk of failure, but with immediate mitigation of careful crown cleaning and raising, and of proper pruning in the coming years, the tree will regain health.
The plan for the tree trimming is to prevent the limbs from touching the roof of the library. This crown raising is, according to Holcomb’s recommendations, “the selective removal of branches to provide vertical clearance for buildings, vehicles, and pedestrians.” This removal will also allow more visibility for drivers to safely cross Jackson Street going west on Sixth Street.
Crown cleaning involves “selective removal of dead, dying, diseased, damaged, cracked, and broken branches. Crowning cleaning focuses on reducing tree risk, improving health, and improving appearance.” An ISA Certified Arborist who has experience in pruning Live Oaks will be hired to carry out the mitigation plans.
Those sentimental about trees may be concerned that the Live Oak will appear scalped, but the trimming will lift the growth upward and will allow areas of the tree that are becoming diseased to receive light for its healing. The Memorial tree will receive scheduled watering, fertilizing and testing during construction to insure its safety.