Work should start next week to give Boulevard new look

Published 6:00 am Thursday, January 11, 2001

The chamber of commerce’s Community Appearance Committee islooking to spruce up the city’s “front door” with a new treeproject along a section of Brookway Boulevard.

In the project, over 260 trees will be planted along the routefrom just west of Magee Drive to Highway 51. The project is a facetof the Streetscape project for Brookway Boulevard and MonticelloStreet.

“The trees are starting to arrive, and we should start plantingnext week,” said Jimminette Phillips, chairwoman of the appearancecommittee.

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Bennie Hutchins, area resource conservation and developmentdirector who is working with the committee, said natural gas linesand other utilities are in the process of being marked.

“Depending on the weather, it should take about two weeks,”Hutchins said about tree-planting time.

Hutchins said the trees have been divided into three categories:small, medium and large, with most being in the large category.Initially, all the trees will be six to 10 feet tall, with the thepossibility of some growing to over 50 feet.

Large tree examples include Sycamore, Bald Cypress and Magnolia.Medium-size trees include Maple, Chinese Elm and River Birch whilesmall tree examples are Crepe Myrtle, Holly and Red Bud.

The tree-planting is being done with help of a $15,000Mississippi Forestry Commission Transportation Enhancement grant.At their Dec. 19 meeting, city aldermen awarded a $12,894 bid toGrowin’ Green Landscape for the work.

“Part of the trees will be bought with the remaining $2,000,”Hutchins said. “The Community Appearance Committee will buy therest of the trees.”

Hutchins estimated total cost of the trees to be around $18,000.Of the remaining $16,000, Hutchins said $9,800 came from anenvironmental grant from Entergy and the rest includedcontributions from citizens, clubs and landowners along theboulevard.

Hutchins was also involved in determining locations for thetrees.

“All the spots have been marked,” he said.

Locations of the trees had to comply with a variety ofMississippi Department of Transportation and utility guidelines.Hutchins said they involve vehicle safety and visibilityfactors.

The appearance committee will oversee watering and maintenanceof the trees once they are planted, Phillips said. She expected noproblems with those duties and was looking at ways to followthrough with them.

Hutchins said there are many environmental and other benefits tohaving trees along roadways.

“This is the main entrance to the city and the MississippiSchool of the Arts,” Hutchins said. “It’s like sprucing up yourfront door and your front yard.”

Hutchins and Phillips said the committee may look at theMonticello Street area next year.

“After we get this done, we’ll step back and regroup,” Phillipssaid.

Hutchins said another forestry grant may be available to assistwith work from Hamilton Street to the Monticello Street-BrookwayBoulevard intersection. He indicated the Brookway Boulevard areafrom Cherokee Street to the highway was in good shape.

“From the arts school to Highway 51, it looks pretty good alongthere,” he said. “The landowners have done a good job.”

Phillips said appearance officials are excited about the firsttree project and looking forward to completing it.

“In years to come, it’ll make a big difference along thatcorridor,” Phillips said.