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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2007
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It's called crepe murder, and it happens every time someone improperly prunes a crepe myrtle, as the recently pruned trees at the Morgan County Courthouse show at right.
Daily photo by Gary Lloyd
Itís called crepe murder, and it happens every time someone improperly prunes a crepe myrtle, as the recently pruned trees at the Morgan County Courthouse show at right.

Sprucing up
the River City

Decatur board seeks to
finish pocket park

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com ∑ 340-2395

Anticipating high costs for installing wrought-iron fencing and accessories for the downtown pocket park, beautification officials earmarked all of their 2007 city allocation toward completing renovations.

"It's going to take a world of money to get that wrought iron," said Pat Woller, representative of the Decatur Beautification Board, which is overseeing improvements to the small park on Second Avenue Southeast.

Fellow board members agreed that the cost was worth it for the first-class look they want for the park. They voted unanimously to designate this year's entire $20,000 allocation from the City Council for completing the project.

The board didn't rule out the possibility of obtaining private donations in exchange for name recognition to pay for benches and trash cans.

But board Chairman Clint Shelton advised caution in that direction so as to avoid a park where numerous recognition plaques become clutter. He also said soliciting donations takes a long time, and if the board buys the benches, trash cans and fencing, the park could be ready this spring.

The board has $23,688 to spend, $20,000 of which is money the council gave it last year to renovate the park. The money earned about $700 in interest as the board sought financial and in-kind donations for repairing the fountain, installing a metal trellis and landscaping.

The board obtained $3,000 in cash donations and an unspecified amount in donated services.

The latter category includes the newly erected steel trellis. Nucor donated the steel, Southland Tubing formed it, Interstate Steel Inc. fitted it for assembly, and Fite Building Company installed it. Other donated work includes fountain repair and electrical and architectural services.

"Everything to date has been donated," Shelton said. "We haven't spent one red penny."

Woller suggested in October that the board combine some of its 2007 allocation — which the council still must approve — with its 2006 funds to complete the park as soon as possible. She said the city needs to see ongoing progress instead of ongoing projects.

Shelton advised waiting until he can secure all the donations for the trellis and it is installed so the board will have a better idea of the money it had left to spend.

Architect Wilber Abernethy recommended the iron fencing and gates, and the board wants to buy benches and trash cans that complement the fence style. Based on personal experience, board members envisioned the cost to equip the park easily surpassing the $23,688 it currently has available.

The board discussed other needs for the money, such as replacing dead trees and shrubs in the Point Mallard Drive Southeast median, landscaping the median on the U.S. 31 causeway and lighting beneath the giant oaks at Banks-Caddell Elementary School.

Shelton said the Community Foundation of Greater Decatur has $43,000 set aside for beautification projects that can help pay for such projects.

Proper pruning from a pro

It's called crepe murder, and it happens every time someone improperly prunes a crepe myrtle, as the recently pruned trees at the Morgan County Courthouse show at right. To prevent local residents and businesses from making the same mistake, Decatur Parks and Recreation and Decatur Beautification are providing a free consulting service. Paul Floyd, facilities and operations manager for Parks and Recreation, will demonstrate the proper technique to anyone who inquires. The result can resemble the trees beside the Delano Park tennis courts, top photo, the way it should be done. To set up an appointment, call Floyd at 351-7766.

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