A little more than seven years went by before League City began the process of building the WaterSmart park on the land left by the developer.

Just as in life, sometimes the right set of circumstances have to come together to produce the desired result.

Just about that time there were discussions about saving a significant piece of our city’s history, the Ghirardi Compton oak. The contractors began to move the tree June 6, 2012, from FM 518 and Louisiana Street to its present location on three-quarters of an acre donated by Clarence Ghirardi about 1,500 feet away.

However, the relocation of the 60- to 70-foot-tall, 110-foot-wide tree, weighing an estimated 540 tons, would not be complete until five days later on June 11. If you have not seen the video, I encourage you to take a look at www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IltJh2Ouck.  

The Ghirardi Compton oak has been placed in the same location as another very old oak tree with the name of Moonshine oak. Now, sometimes nicknames are just that — nicknames. Like someone would call a tall man Shorty.

As you know, the legend and the history sometimes differ. Could it have been given the name because it was so big the moon always shined on it?

Was that a place where the younger family members met back in those days?

Now, according to history, back in the days when most everyone was self-reliant in our area, the tree was a gathering place for the men folk in the evening, and next to the tree was a cabin.

Anything else is speculation and unrecorded history.

Michael Ghirardi said, “When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time in and around that tree. The branches came down to the ground, and you could go all the way around like monkey bars.”

This project creates a demonstration park that puts in place the best management practices that will be fully monitored and available to developers, the public and surrounding communities. It works to model stormwater runoff in the city and will use these results to evaluate and develop appropriate stormwater ordinances and finally develop a program to retrofit commercial, residential and public property with green infrastructure to gauge low-impact development effectiveness and the use of incentives. Such a cutting-edge project helps our city and increases the quality of life of our community.

The bottom line here is this park is a model of what can be done when the government and citizens work together. Children as well as adults can play, learn and better understand the language of Mother Nature and how to better work with her.

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