Chapel Hill tree stump to become UNC tribute site

Posted May 20, 2009 10:16 a.m. EDT

— Town officials want to turn a downtown tree stump into a tribute to the University of North Carolina's national championship basketball team.

A green ash tree at the intersection of Columbia and Franklin streets was damaged during last month's championship celebration. The canopy had to be cut off, leaving a 7-foot-tall stump.

Mayor Kevin Foy came up with the idea of transforming the stump into public art, and Chapel Hill Public Arts Administrator Jeffrey York approached Dwight Bassett, the town’s economic development director and a master wood carver, with a proposal to sculpt the stump into something symbolic.

Bassett said he envisions a vertical segment of a player with arm extended and holding a basketball.

“We are working on what’s left of a tree and creating something of symbolic importance for the town and university,” Bassett said in a statement. “It is a gift from the town to the university and the people of Chapel Hill.”

“We envision this as a temporary tribute, something that creates interest on the street – art as a conversation piece,” York said in a statement.