State will plant flowers, trees along Westminster's Route 140

January 11, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Westminster City Council last night picked up an offer of flowers, shrubs and trees for the Route 140 median strip that county commissioners recently had turned down.

The commissioners decided last month that maintenance would be too costly for them to accept a State Highway Administration (SHA) offer to plant about $100,000 worth of shrubs, trees and wildflowers in the median strip.

But council members decided last night that the project will beautify the approach to Westminster.

Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr. suggested maintenance may not cost the city anything if it can find civic organizations to sponsor the plantings.

"It's a real positive move for the city," Mr. Chapin said.

"The avenues of approach should have a good, positive look," he added.

Neil Ridgely, a member of the Westminster Tree Commission and the county's program manager for landscaping and forest conservation, estimated the annual maintenance cost at $5,000 to $6,000, based on Anne Arundel County's experience with similar plantings.

Other council members and Mayor W. Benjamin Brown were similarly enthusiastic.

Councilman Edward S. Calwell called it a "gateway for business that may be interested in setting up in Westminster."

Councilman Damian L. Halstad said the flowers, trees and shrubs will give visitors a good first impression of the city.

The planting will stretch along Route 140 from Route 97 south to Route 31.

Charles Adams, director of the SHA's office of environmental design, said his staff will work with the city staff or interested organizations to plan a mix of low-maintenance shrubs and annuals or perennials.

What's planted depends on whether the planners want "spring to fall" flowers, he said.

Mr. Adams said the state's offer is not a ploy to unload highway maintenance responsibility onto local governments.

"If the local commitment wasn't there, all we'd do is continue to cut the grass," he said.

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