Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Excellent News from MDHA on the Salemtown Streetscape Project

Salemtown neighborhood advisers met with an MDHA representative on Tuesday evening for an update on construction plans for the federally-funded streetscape project. More specifically, they gathered to find out whether the housing authority had pulled off an arrangement to put trees--previously removed because of costs overruns and the loss of a state tree grant due to project delays--back into the plans.

We were not disappointed. MDHA is using the last $7,000 of the grant (earmarked for short shrubs for 24 traffic-calming islands on 5th Avenue, North and 7th Avenue, North) in tandem with a $3,000 donation from Regan Smith landscape designers to purchase Natchez crepe myrtles (tree-size shrubs with white blooms) to plant in each of the islands. Moreover, the plant supplier has some surplus liriope, which he will provide as ground cover for the islands. Each bulb-out will be amended and mulched and receive care for 3 months during the fall for the $10,000 total.

I don't know whether our persistence paid off, but I came away feeling fortunate that we got back a few of the plantings we lost, and the blooming crepe myrtles ought to close in the corridor along these busy streets, along with adding vertical elements to the obscure, street-level bulb-outs. The flora will be the last elements installed in the streetscape plan, and we won't see them until after summer. Committee members present voted unanimously to approve the new plan. Once the trees get installed, we need to thank Regan Smith and the plant provider for their donations to the neighborhood.

In related news, MDHA also said that they would repair one island at 5th and Hume that has been hit several times by vehicles and damaged.

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