Columbia County soon will finish two efforts designed to improve the aesthetic appeal of Evans intersections.
"Our end goal is just basically to try and enhance some of these transportation corridors," said Preston Duffie, the county's landscape architect. "There are some rough areas in there now."
The first beautification project targeted the Industrial Park Drive and North Belair Road intersection, and was completed last week.
The bulk of the work consisted of planting trees and about 17 species of shrubs on the right-of-way in front of AB Beverage Co., Duffie said. The plants involved in the project included oak trees, azaleas and abelias as well as perennial flowers, such as irises and daylilies.
Duffie said the county's Roads and Bridges Department aided in the venture by moving dirt and assisting with stormwater upgrades.
AB Beverage Co. installed the irrigation system and will assume the maintenance costs as well, he said.
The county will pay only for the installation of plants, said Duffie, adding that the $13,000 needed for the work came from leftover funds from the North Belair Road extension project.
AB Beverage Co. also will improve its entrance with brick columns, ornamental steel fencing, accent lighting, flowering trees and shrubbery, said Darren Prickett, a landscape architect with Johnson, Laschober and Associates.
"The owners really wanted to play the entrance up and make it a lot more aesthetically pleasing," he said.
The entrance work should be finished within the next couple of months," Prickett said.
The second beautification project by the county aims to conceal a retention pond located across the street from the Pizza Joint and near the intersection at Old Evans Road and Washington Road.
"What we're doing is putting in some evergreen trees to try and screen the retention pond that is right there," Duffie said. "More or less, it's just an eyesore, and we're trying to clean that area up a little bit."
The work to the area, which Duffie called one of the busiest roads in the county, will cost $8,000 and will be paid for with funds from county Commissioner Ron Thigpen's transportation discretionary account.
The project will be finished within the next couple of weeks, Duffie said.
The installation work for both projects will be conducted by Four Seasons Landscaping Inc.
Duffie said the projects also will contribute to the county's requirement for Tree City USA, which is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation, the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters.
A tree board and a tree care ordinance are two of the four requirements to receive a Tree City USA title. Communities also are required to spend at least $2 per capita on tree care and hold an annual Arbor Day celebration.
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