Millennium maple to be planted at park

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 28, 1999

At precisely 12:01 a.

Tuesday, December 28, 1999

At precisely 12:01 a.m. Saturday, the first tree of the new century will be planted in Austin.

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The sugar maple tree will be planted in Horace Austin Park as New Year’s Day dawns and with it a new century and a new millennium.

Monica Boyken, executive director of the Austin Area Chamber of Commerce, is among those promoting the event.

"The sugar maple will be planted in Horace Austin Park not far from where the first can of SPAM luncheon meat was manufactured in 1937," Boyken said. "The Austin community is invited to participate in the planting of this beautiful, large tree. It is already 15 1/2 feet tall with a 4-inch diameter truck and is expected to live to the 22nd century."

According to Boyken, the Millennium maple tree will symbolize a "renewed spirit to embrace and carry on the values of a generation that started their lives at the beginning of this century."

"This generation lived through world wars and the Great Depression," Boyken noted. "Their contributions have helped strengthen and nurture our nation and bring it to a new level of greatness."

Boyken also said the tree-planting will represent a "community commitment to improve the city’s landscape as it will be the first of 400 trees to be planted in Austin in 2000.

At least 3,000 trees were lost due to the windstorm of June 1998.

The Austin Area Chamber of Commerce is joining Spruce Up Austin Inc., the Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department and Austin Rotary Club in the tree planting.

The unique New Year’s Eve party by the frozen Cedar River will include brief remarks by Mike Ruzek, president of Spruce Up Austin, and Austin Mayor Bonnie Rietz, who will follow Ruzek’s remarks with a proclamation.

The public is invited to share in the ceremonies on New Year’s Eve.