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- Public Notices
By LYNN ARTZ
Special to The News
Within days, more than 200 trees will be planted in county parks and along streets in Crawfordville, Panacea, Medart and Shell Point. Most of the 138 trees will be purchased and planted with grant funds that Wakulla County received through the Florida Division of Forestry.
Last Friday, tree locations were staked at 10 sites including three parks – Shell Point Beach Park, Woolley Park and Azalea Park – and two parking areas, Medart Recreation Park and Rock Landing.
Staking also took place along four streets – in front of the Commission Chambers and the Senior Center, at the intersection of Oak Street and Wakulla Arran roads, and on Trice Lane in front of Public Works.
Lastly, trees will be planted to passively cool two buildings at the Sheriff’s Office complex.
The Florida Division of Forestry used 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funding from the U.S. Forest Service to offer competitive grants to reforest public right-of-ways, parks, public schools, and such.
One purpose of the funding was to stimulate economic activity in the nursery and landscaping sectors and increase employment for landscape contractors, nurserymen, arborists and landscape architects/designers.
On Jan. 25, Wakulla County commissioners approved the submittal of an application seeking $24,000 in reforestation funds. Commissioner Lynn Artz helped to write the grant and identified county sites needing trees.
Artz also coordinated the creation of tree-planting plans by landscape designer volunteers including Betsey Smith, Glen Campbell and David Copps.
Wakulla County submitted its application to the Florida Division of Forestry in February. Priority for funding was given to blighted neighborhoods, to underserved rural population centers, and to communities with high unemployment.
Only two counties in northern Florida received funding. Wakulla County was one. On May 17, the county commission accepted the $19,300 grant award.
In October, the County’s invitation to bid was announced and widely publicized to local nurseries and landscape contractors. In an effort to distribute stimulus funds among multiple local businesses, the 10 planting sites were bid separately.
Last week, Purple Martin Nurseries was awarded the bids for all 10 sites. This coming week, Purple Martin will plant 138 trees with grant funding.
Trees include 30 cabbage palms and a dozen other species including live oaks, red and chalk maples, redbuds, red cedars, East Palatka hollies, fringe trees, Shumard oaks, sand live oaks, slash pines and southern magnolias.
Ray Gray, director of Parks and Recreation, is overseeing the project for Wakulla County. John Melton, ISA Certified Arborist, is a consultant to the county for this grant.
The consulting arborist will help to set-up micro-drip irrigation after planting, and then monitor the trees during a 60-day grow-in period.
Commissioner Artz continues to be involved in variety of ways, and will carry out the community education requirements of the grant.
County Forester Daniel Stevens is the county’s liaison with the funding agency.