The city of Escondido in cooperation with the Downtown Business Association Monday will begin implementation of a median beautification along Grand Avenue that will include the removal of old eucalyptus trees—to be replaced by drought tolerant trees and plants.
Tree removal work along Grand Avenue will begin Monday, April 30 and take about four days to complete, Michelle Geller, economic development manager for the city, said in a staff memo last week.
“The entire project from start to finish (including tree removal) will take approximately eight weeks. The work schedule will not disrupt Cruisin’ Grand, the Farmers Market or the May 20 Street Faire,” Geller wrote.
Alex MacLachlan, president of the Downtown Business Association, told The Times-Advocate, “Got word from the nursery this morning that my plant and tree list is fulfilled, and I just had a logistics meeting with Public Works, so looking forward to seeing the progress start on the 30th.”
Even the Public Works guys are excited about doing this project.”
The work will begin at Juniper Street, and move westerly, first with the arborists, then city crews will come in behind with stump and root grinding, electrical repair, irrigation repair, then site prep. After that starts the planting of crape myrtle trees, roses, succulents, flowering ground covers, and flowering shrubs.
“We went for simple, hardy, and colorful elegance, that we hope the city will enjoy year round,” said MacLachlan.
Geller described how over the past few months, city staff members have been working with private sector stakeholders and the Downtown Business Association to come up with a plan to beautify the medians along Grand Avenue. “Several of the medians are no longer able to accommodate attractive, permanent landscaping due to an overgrowth of the existing tree roots,” she wrote. “This has resulted in the need for constant, short-term replanting just to maintain minimum appearance standards.”
As part of the plan, the city will be removing the eucalyptus trees in the medians and planting new, drought-tolerant trees and plants. The Downtown Business Association has committed to investing grant funds they received from the County into the project.
MacLachlan added, “Half of the cost came from a Community Enhancement Grant we requested from the County Board of Supervisors last June, and half came from our community event efforts with the Escondido Tamale Festival, Grand Avenue Festival, and Escondido Chocolate Festival.
“I’d also like to recognize local landscape architect Glen Brouwer for his help in creating a professional design, and the generosity of Kevin Grangetto of Grangettos Farm and Garden Supply for their irrigation supply donation. Also, Michelle Gellar, Economic Development Director, for successfully herding this Private Sector subcommittee with city Public Works management and Escondido Executive Management.”
Plans for beautifying the medians in this semi “short term” effort are consistent with the Transnet grant application approved by city council on February 14, which will involve a much larger and longer-term project.
The city will be contacting business and other “stakeholders” affected by the upcoming work I the next week or so. It will also put signs at location of the work and at the Visit Escondido office while work is underway.