Marco Island set to complete refurbishing 100 worst cul-de-sac medians

Linda Colombo in green and Syd Mellinger listen as Tricia Dorn of Lee County Electric Cooperative explains her companyís policy on trimming trees within city limits. Dorn spoke at Wednesdayís Beautification Committee meeting. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Linda Colombo in green and Syd Mellinger listen as Tricia Dorn of Lee County Electric Cooperative explains her companyís policy on trimming trees within city limits. Dorn spoke at Wednesdayís Beautification Committee meeting. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Tim Pinter, public works director for Marco Island, listens as Yvette Benarroch of Affordable Landscaping explains Wednesday to the Beautification Committee  how her company is combating a whitefly infestation on city-owned property. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Tim Pinter, public works director for Marco Island, listens as Yvette Benarroch of Affordable Landscaping explains Wednesday to the Beautification Committee how her company is combating a whitefly infestation on city-owned property. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Bob Kennedy in orange and Andrew Kirlin listen Wednesday as Linda Colombo explains necessary steps for the Marco in Bloom contest sponsored by the Beautification Committee. The contest is held during season with entries due by March 20. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

Bob Kennedy in orange and Andrew Kirlin listen Wednesday as Linda Colombo explains necessary steps for the Marco in Bloom contest sponsored by the Beautification Committee. The contest is held during season with entries due by March 20. Cheryl Ferrara/Eagle Correspondent

One hundred of the city's least attractive cul-de-sac medians will be upgraded by year's end.

Susan LaGrotta, chairwoman of the Beautification Committee, delivered the news Wednesday after she and Nancy Richie discussed completing the project with Marco Island City Manager Jim Riviere. Richie is the environmental specialist for the city and liaison to the committee.

In December 2011, the committee presented Tim Pinter, public works director, with its list of the least impressive and most dangerous cul-de-sac medians on the island. The list was the result of a survey of city-owned medians created by the committee. Each median was ranked on a scale of 1 to 5. One hundred medians fell into the lowest ranking.

By the committee's November 2012 meeting, fewer than half of the lowest ranking medians had been refurbished. The committee was told lack of personnel work hours was causing the delay.

As of Wednesday, 51 cul-de-sac medians had been completed. With the go-ahead from Riviere, the remaining 49 medians will be done. Work will be scheduled by the city with the aid of Affordable Landscaping, a contractor for the city's street medians. Completion is expected by the end of the month.

Affordable Landscaping also has been instrumental in treating city properties and medians for whitefly infestation.

"Whiteflies are a problem here because it doesn't get cold enough to kill them," Yvette Benarroch of Affordable Landscaping told the committee.

One treatment per year is effective for palms and gumbo-limbo trees, she said, because the whole pesticide is injected into the tree where its vascular system uptakes it.

"After treatment, you may still see the whiteflies feeding, but they soon will die," she said.

Few shrubs are affected, but ficus shrubs are particularly vulnerable. Benarroch described an effective protocol, applying a systemic followed by liquid nutrients to promote re-growth.

The committee asked Benarroch if her company would participate in the city's Community Forum to discuss controlling whiteflies. The forum is held annually to assist homeowners with aspects of landscaping, native vegetation and conservation.

The committee hosts the forum and plans to bring in qualified speakers. Expositions on water conservation, Florida-friendly plantings, irrigation, and cul-de-sac adoption will be highlighted. Board members will be available during the event to answer questions and assist property owners.

The forum is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, in the Community Room, 51 Bald Eagle Drive.

Lee County Electric Cooperative, power supplier for Marco Island, also was asked to participate and discuss its tree trimming policies. Tricia Dorn, the company's key account executive, told the committee company workers were often questioned about trimming done near power lines.

"We hope education will help people understand that trees can interrupt power," she said. The electric company works to provide a "clear zone" unencumbered by anything that could affect power delivery.

Recently, a number of power outages have been reported to LCEC from Marco Island, Dorn said. The majority were due to nearby trees.

The company targets those areas for trimming or tree removal, she said. If trees are on private property, homeowners have the option of moving them away from power lines at their own expense.

The next Beautification Advisory Committee meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m., Jan. 2. The meeting's location will be announced on the city's website at www.cityofmarcoisland.com.

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Comments » 1

happyhorowitz34145 writes:

Intreresting, how the improvements to the cul-da-sacs is automatically given to Affordable landscape because they maintain the city medians. The median work work was awarded on a bid, but non of this other work on 100 cul da sacs was bid out!
Why not?
How much is being spent?

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