JOHNS ISLAND, SC (WCSC) - At a press conference Wednesday Mayor Joe Riley said he will recommend Charleston City Council give $200,000 towards the fundraising effort.
Charleston County Council voted 7 to 0 Tuesday evening to approve $2.4 million to the Lowcountry Open Land Trust. The money will go towards the purchase of a 17-acre tract of land next to the Angel Oak tree on Johns Island.
The purchase would prevent residential development on the land, according to SaveTheAngelTree.org co-founder Samantha Siegel.
Over the past five years, Siegel has helped collected 11,000 signatures of people against the development of nearby land.
Lowcountry Open Land Trust Executive Director Elizabeth Hagood says $1.2 million would still need to be raised, in addition to the $2.4 million. She says the trust will launch a fundraising campaign to collect the money, before an expiration date of September 30th.
"I think we'll be able to do it," Hagood says, "There's so much support for the Angel Oak and deep love for it. It's going to take folks who have capacity to give a large amount of money, but just as important are those who can give 10 dollars."
Those who support preserving the massive oak tree say it's fragile and development could kill it. Supporters say the Angel Oak Preserve will remain mostly wooded.
"Sometimes good conservation is really not doing anything at all. We want to bring people to the site, but we have to make sure the area around it is protected," said Tom O'Rourke Executive Director of Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission.