Photo by ROGER LALONDE // Buy this photo
MARCO ISLAND — When the new span of the S.S. Jolley Bridge is complete this fall, lush landscaping – complete with Florida friendly plants, trees and shrubs – will greet drivers.
Plans to landscape the north and south bound approaches to the bridge were included in the $25.5 million project, according to JoAnn May, a public information officer with the Florida Department of Transportation. The contractor, Johnson Brothers Construction, has outsourced Back Bay Aquatics of Fort Lauderdale to complete the beautification.
Four kinds of palm trees, six different species of grass and nearly a dozen different flowers and shrubs will be planted, including coconut and sabal palms, spider and flax lily, creeping figs and bougainvillea.
According to the contract, Back Bay Aquatics will be responsible for the layout and installation of the greenery. After an initial period, the city of Marco will be in charge of the upkeep on the south side of the bridge, while Collier County will do the same on the north side.
The landscaping will provide an aesthetic entryway into the city and a new backdrop for the island’s welcome sign.
“I think it’s going to be appealing and add to the ambiance,” said parks and recreation director Bryan Milk, who added that it was important to make sure that the landscaping on both approaches is consistent. On July 6, he told members of the city’s Beautification Advisory Committee that the welcome sign will be joined by markers leading visitors to Founders Park (previously known as Veterans Park) at the corner of North Collier Boulevard and North Barfield Drive.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee has approved a new name for two tracts of land on the island. Between November and April, the Parks and Recreation department held a community-wide naming contest for Tracts C and D, located along Winterberry Drive across from Winterberry Park. The winning name, Calusa Park, suggested by the island’s Beautification Advisory Committee was chosen. The name not only honors the history of the Calusa Indians on the island, but also the Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island, which has donated approximately $10,000 to beautify the park.
“They’ve been a significant contributor towards the enhancements,” said Milk.