Work to revamp the town of Wrightsville Beach’s entryway landscaping is currently underway as part of a $45,000 project funded by the North Carolina Department of Transportation and contracted to Good Earth Associates.
The planning process for the entryway beautification began in June 2013 when the town and NCDOT hosted a public input workshop at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall. A handful of residents attended the workshop and Wrightsville Beach also posted public input surveys on the town website.
NCDOT Roadside Division Environmental Engineer Joe Chance said during a Tuesday, July 22 phone interview the crew is now five weeks into the project and the entirety of the landscaping overhaul would be done before the end of August.
The scope of the project includes a series of plant beds and new tree plantings from the eastern edge of the Heide Trask Drawbridge to just past the Causeway Drive and Keel Street intersection where crews from Good Earth Associates have already installed three garden walls made of concrete retaining wall blocks.
Wrightsville Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said it has not yet been determined what kind of plants would be installed in those six beds but they would be similar to the plants used elsewhere in the landscaping plan.
The next areas of concentration for the plan are the eastern front portion of the median between Causeway Drive and Old Causeway Drive, and the head of the median dividing Causeway Drive and West Salisbury Street.
The edges of those medians will be outlined with a 6-inch cobblestone paver edge and Tifway 419 Bermuda sod. Other small plants included in the median areas will be drought and salt tolerant varietals like dwarf yaupon, red oleander, Little Richard Abelia, Japanese yew, daylily, juniper, muhly grass and sage. The larger trees featured in those medians will include crape myrtle and live oaks.
Chance said the bid from Good Earth Associates left room to blend the new landscaping with existing elements that will remain.
“The bid came in less than that, so right now we are going to add a few items like miscellaneous tree trimming so we can blend what we plant into what is already existing,” Chance said. “This was the town’s vision and what they wanted.”
The areas for the new landscaping will be watered using spray heads for the new sod areas and drip lines for the garden beds along Causeway Drive.
On the other side of the Heide Trask Drawbridge, Chance’s division is also working to rehabilitate the palm tree-lined area on the north side of Wrightsville Avenue that served as the staging area for American Bridge during the company’s renovation of the drawbridge.
The land is in the City of Wilmington’s jurisdiction and Chance said the plan is to replace the existing palm trees.
“We have spoken to the city planner, arborist and the head of the parks and recreation division and everyone is in agreement that the palm trees do have a disease issue and they should have already fallen on their own accord,” he said. “We are going to remove the remaining trees, treat the ground, clean it up and put five live oaks back in closer to the sidewalk.”
Chance said the live oaks will allow room for the multiuse path the city plans to construct on that side of the road and an NCDOT crew would install a hardscape landscape plan around the path to mimic the Wrightsville Beach side of the drawbridge.
The removal of the palm trees and installation of the live oaks should occur in October 2014, Chance said.