Two new brochures from the Beautification Advisory Committee will keep Marco blooming in the right direction.
The first invites entries for 2012’s Marco in Bloom landscape awards and includes an application for nominations. Winners will be considered in five categories: residential, commercial, condominium, cul-de-sac medians and institutional. The deadline for applications is March 23. Winners will be selected and honored at the April 2 Marco Island City Council meeting.
The brochure, designed by committee member Sandi Johnson, is scheduled to be printed and made public prior to February’s flower shows and will be available in city properties, public service offices and landscape related businesses.
Businesses and residents may nominate their own properties or another property meeting eligibility requirements. Judges will limit consideration to areas readily visible from public areas and will rate each entry’s use of native plants, creativity, color and contrasting plants.
A second brochure will define permitting requirements for private landscaping of publicly owned cul-de-sac medians. Members of the beautification committee were asked to review a draft brochure and provide comments for the committee’s Feb. 1 meeting.
Guidelines will include what can and cannot be planted in cul-de-sac medians with examples of cul-de-sacs that need attention and those that are well maintained. The draft brochure stresses low maintenance alternatives, reduced plant heights and drought resistant groundcovers and plantings.
After finalizing the brochure, the beautification committee plans to present it to the city manager and City Council for approval at council’s Feb. 21 meeting.
On Wednesday, the committee narrowed its list of distressed cul-de-sac medians to 70 and asked city staff to schedule work on them first. The city’s budget provides $28,500 for cleanup of the worst 100 cul-de-sac medians on the island. Included in cleanup is $8,500 to remove overgrown and exotic vegetation, $10,000 to add two inches of new gravel and $10,000 for replanting each median using beautification committee recommendations.
An additional $15,700 has been earmarked to maintain 302 cul-de-sac medians by twice annually trimming palms and bushes, spraying herbicides, fertilizing palms and plants, doing minor grading and hauling away debris.
Tim Pinter, public works director, announced the city will be looking into new right-of-way standards for swale areas in front of Marco homes. Of the more than 6,000 lots on the island only a couple hundred have gravel or rock in their swales, he said.
At its Feb. 6 meeting, city councilors will consider replacing rock with drought-resistant sod. The grass will act as a filter for water and improve overall water quality and will open up opportunities for additional drainage grants requiring swale improvements, Pinter said. He suggested there was a potential for grants up to $500,000.
The committee chose 1 p.m., Jan. 20, to plant two Jamaica dogwoods in honor of Florida’s Arbor Day. The trees will be placed in the city’s Calusa Park at the Sand Hill Street end. Affordable Landscaping has offered to donate labor for planting the trees. A public observer at the committee’s meeting, Chris Burt of Island Garden Center, said he would donate the two trees to the city.
The next Beautification Advisory Committee meeting will be held at 3 p.m., Feb. 1, in City Hall’s 1st floor conference room.