Beauty – times five

Published 10:17 am Thursday, July 7, 2016

WINTON – Hertford County local government is studying ways it may partner with the Town of Murfreesboro on an enhancement project.

At a recent meeting, the county’s Board of Commissioners heard a presentation made by Geri P. Bradshaw, chairwoman of the Murfreesboro Beautification Committee (MBC). The MBC recently hosted a public meeting with Patricia Mansfield, Division One Roadside Environmental Engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation, regarding a landscaping project at five locations in or near Murfreesboro.

Bradshaw told the board that due to two of the locations being in the county (US 158 and US 258), her group was reaching out to the commissioners to see if they were interested in providing financial aid that will help cover the long-range maintenance of the landscaping.

“Our group has been working hand-in-hand with Patricia Mansfield with DOT about our enhancement project,” Bradshaw told the commissioners. “There are funds for these types of projects within Division One. Ms. Bradshaw has come out to Murfreesboro and reviewed our plans, and surveyed the project.”

Bradshaw said the Murfreesboro group is hoping to “enhance” five areas leading into and within the town. Those areas include US 158 and US 258 (both of which are in the county), and the entrance to Chowan University, Spring Avenue and Powell Road (all within the Murfreesboro town limits).

“All of these plantings will be within the DOT right-of-way,” Bradshaw noted. “These plantings, which are provided free by DOT, will be maintained at no charge by DOT for three years. After three years, the Town of Murfreesboro will assume the maintenance of these areas. If those areas are not maintained properly, then DOT will come in and provide the maintenance and charge those services to the town.”

Bradshaw said she made a presentation to the Murfreesboro Town Council in May in reference to the plan.

“They (the town council) were a little hesitant about the financial side of it,” she stated. “Since some of these plantings will be in the county, I’m coming to you (commissioners) to see if you will consider offering financial assistance.”

Bradshaw said she felt the beautification project could serve as an economic boost.

“I’m thinking as travelers come and go on 158 and 258 and they see these beautiful plantings along our roadways, they may slow down and visit the town to see what else we have to offer,” she stressed.

Bradshaw said she could arrange an evening meeting between Mansfield and the commissioners if the board so desired to learn more about the project.

“We could also get the Murfreesboro Town Council members to attend that meeting; together I think we can make this project happen,” Bradshaw pointed out. “The money to make this happen is available now from DOT. However, there are other towns and cities in Division One seeking funds for their projects from this same pot of money. We have to act now because those funds will soon be depleted.”

According to the agreement, the projected annual maintenance cost after the first three years is $45,000 – which includes watering, mulching, pruning, fertilizing, weeding, mowing, pest control and replacing dead or damaged plants.

“I believe that Ms. Mansfield can give you a better idea of exactly what the monthly maintenance costs will be based upon what plants we choose to go into these five areas,” Bradshaw said.

Commissioner Bill Mitchell said he felt the beautification of the county is important.

“This is something we need to make strives towards doing what we can to help,” Mitchell said. “I’m in favor of hearing what Ms. Mansfield has to say.”

Commission Chairman Ronald Gatling invited Bradshaw and her group to an upcoming meeting of the Hertford County Recreation Committee, which currently has a recreation/tourism project on the drawing board in the Murfreesboro area.

“We can look for ways we can partner with Murfreesboro to help with your project,” Gatling said.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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