Downtown group prepares to spruce up planters
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Oct 31, 2013 | 2432 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Downtown landscaping
)  Don Scholl (center), a Tracy public works superintendent, discusses landscaping on a section of 10th Street with Tracy City Center Association members Lynette Myers (from left), Lauren Pettipiece, Dino Margaros, William Wilson and Tracy Amador during a downtown tour on Wednesday, Oct. 30.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Changes are coming for the decorative landscaping around several dozen downtown Tracy trees.

Seeking to beautify the downtown

area, leaders of Tracy City Center Association walked portions of Central Avenue and 10th Street on Wednesday, Oct. 30, with Public Works Superintendent Don Scholl, Cultural Arts Manager William Wilson and M&M Builders Supply owner Shawn Kelley.

According to Dino Margaros, president of TCCA, the walking tour was to identify which plants could be trimmed back and kept in place and which would be replaced by crushed granite.

TCCA officials counted roughly 64 tree planters in three configurations throughout the downtown area — 10th Street between A Street and Central Avenue and Central between 11th and Sixth streets.

Two thirds of the planters are expected to get the granite makeover and a third to keep their existing vegetation. Plants will be pruned and bark will be added around the tree base in the planters that remain green, Margaros said.

Wilson said the planned transformation is welcome.

"This is something everybody wished, (that) the plots downtown looked better," he said. "A little bit of greenery is not a problem."

Margaros said TCCA would pay for the work using its annual membership fund. Downtown property owners pay fees based on the square footage of their property to create the group’s annual operating budget of $180,000.

"We have to figure out what is going to work and not work," Margaros said.

The project could be done in the next six to eight months, well before property owners vote in 2015 on whether to keep TCCA active for another five years, he said.

During the tour, Scholl, from public works, looked at each planter with the group to identify problems with lighting and with irrigation lines that have been disrupted by roots.

"We need to work with them (TCCA) to make this attractive and maintainable," Scholl said.

He said the group would have to determine which irrigation lines could be repaired and which planters would have to rely upon rainwater. He said he thought the trees could survive without city irrigation.

Kelley, of M&M Builders Supply, recommended filling tree plots in shady areas with crushed granite for easier maintenance.

Local resident Lynette Myers attended the walking tour because she was uncertain about the city’s plans for downtown landscaping, she said.

"I now know and understand why they are making their decisions, and I think they are good decisions," Myers said.

Kelley said he would prepare an estimate of labor and materials costs by next week. He estimated the cost of crushed granite at $40 per yard, which is enough for two planters.

Margaros said TCCA leaders would "get an estimate and prioritize the project."

Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or drizzo@tracypress.com.

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