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Storm splits landmark oak

The heavy storm that rolled through Richmond Hill over the weekend split a huge oak tree next to Ace Hardware Saturday evening.

Hardware store owner Jamie Royal said he is saddened by the damage to the landmark, but is optimistic that property owner Gene Brogdon, a member of the Coastal Bryan Tree Foundation, will salvage the tree.

Royal said he does not think lightning played a part. He also said "it came down as soft as anything like that could," and did not cause any damage to the buildings around it.

"It was already so far spread apart, and I guess all that rain and wind did it in," Royal said.

Royal said Brogdon already has a worker attending to the tree, and all are hopeful that most of the tree will remain intact. The tree is estimated to be more than 100 years old.

He said, about 10 years ago, it was one of his employees that got Fort McAllister to donate the picnic table that is there, "and every day I look out there and see someone eating. It’s a beautiful and rare setting to have amongst shops like this. I don’t know of another public tree of that size you can go to in Richmond Hill. It’s amazing that the tree is there in the first place. I know I’m not alone when I say that I would hate to lose it."

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