More than 170 palms for Bay Streetscape

The official numbers are in for the cost of lining the Bay St. Louis landscape with palm trees:
178 trees have been bought for $35,070.
The influx of palms has amazed some citizens in recent weeks. A large stand of the trees has been placed along Dunbar Avenue, and even more were brought in and planted last week at the Depot District.
The two plantings were part of the downtown streetscape project and the Depot District streetscape. Both are hurricane recovery projects financed through federal grants.
The cost of the downtown streetscape was more than $2 million, city official Buzz Olsen said. Of that project, $165,347, was dedicated to trees and landscaping.
The total cost also included street lights and new sidewalks.
The cost for trees included included palms, live oaks, and other species. Benchmark Construction is the project’s general contractor and the landscaping subcontractor is Southwest Design and Landscaping.
Olsen said the downtown streetscape includes 72 sabal palmettos, also known as cabbage palms, at a cost of $200 each. The total palm cost in that project was $14,400.
Only a portion of those have been planted thus far, mostly along Dunbar and on McDonald Field.
“Forty-two of the 72 have been planted, and we all know where they are,” Olsen said.
In the $1.2 million Depot District streetscape, $209,215, was dedicated to trees and landscaping, Olsen said. Original plans called for 298 trees in that project.
Of those, 106 are sabal palmettos purchased for $195 each, at a total of $20,670.
The general contractor is D&D Construction. The landscape subcontractor is Courtney Farms.
Olsen said the city did not purchase the palm trees directly from vendors. They were supplied by the landscape contractor on each project, who in turn was hired by the general contractors.
The numbers for plans trees and their costs were released this week by Olsen and Mayor Les Fillingame. The mayor acknowledged that the large number of palms clumped along Dunbar Avenue may look odd, but he said they will eventually be moved elsewhere.
“These trees are going to end up on Beach Boulevard,” Fillingame said.
The sabal Palm is native to the Caribbean and Florida, but also fares well in the southeast and as far north as the Carolinas. The species is cold-hardy.

BY: J.R. Welsh

The Sea Coast Echo

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