City Manager Jim Landon calls it the “wow factor.” Landscape Architect Bill Butler says it’s an economic development tool.
Both are talking about the city’s medians, and at the Jan. 28 Palm Coast City Council workshop, Butler presented a plan that would beautify another stretch of road in the city limits: State Road 100, from Interstate 95 to Roberts Road.
When dune sunflower and Parson's juniper are added to the median tips, and when crape myrtle and viburnum are planted in the center, Butler said, “It makes it look like we’re in Palm Coast. … We’re trying to make it look like our standard.”
The tentative bill for the project will be about $465,000, with $250,000 being reimbursed by the Florida Department of Transportation, which recently has begun emphasizing bold landscaping with more trees as an economic development tool. The city’s portion of the cost was already in the capital projects budget for this year, and the extra money from the state is “gravy,” Butler said.
Landon pointed out that Roberts Road marks the end of the city limits: Beach Village Apartments are in Palm Coast, but the adjacent Publix plaza is in Flagler Beach. Butler said Flagler Beach plans to continue with the landscaping farther east. Moreover, the county is considering an agreement to receive state funds to landscape State Road 100 west of Belle Terre Parkway.
When it’s all done, “It will look like a seamless project,” Butler said.
The city project must begin no later than June and be completed no later than October. FDOT requires that the city hire an outside contractor and not do the project with city crews. That wasn’t a problem, Landon said, because city crews are busy working on other projects, such as the walking path on Seminole Woods Parkway.
Regarding the State Road 100 project, Mayor Jon Netts said, “We’re going to put in trees and shrubs. That’s a one-time expenditure. Do we assume the maintenance?”
Butler said yes, the city would need to pay for future maintenance. As part of that plan, the city intends to extend a reuse water line from Old Kings Road and run it east through the medians on State Road 100 to provide flood bubblers to water the trees. However, the grass will not be the standard zoysia but instead will be bahia, because the latter can survive without a full irrigation system, which was deemed too costly. The extension of the water line, though, would allow for irrigation to be added later if the city so desired, Butler said.
The city — not the state — will cover the cost of the upgraded curbs and stamped concrete at the median tips, which are planned to look like the new medians on Belle Terre Parkway and elsewhere. Without addressing the curbs in this way, Butler said, trucks and cars trample the grass, and it looks worse than before. Netts said, “It’s curb appeal. In this case, literally.”