Spotlight on city beautification projects

Published on June 14, 2016 with No Comments

Landscaping improvements within the City of Milton over the last three years provided added appeal for residents and visitors alike. The once grassy medians along Caroline Street and Dogwood Drive now usher in spring and summer with a variety of decorative trees and other ornamental plantings.

Downtown containers once packed with sand are now blooming with color, as are the landscaped areas along Riverwalk. City Manager Brian Watkins said the effort, paid for by a Florida Department of Transportation Joint Participation Agreement Grant, is a portion of the city’s beautification project. “The city council’s beautification vision is underway. Residents will see continuous recurring quality along public property city wide,” said Watkins.What residents do not realize is the size of the project. “Yes, it’s just flowers and trees, but for the medians on Highway 90 alone there’s 1,365 ornamentals covering 8 medians along Highway 90 and a total of 38,500 square feet of sod,” said Watkins.


What residents do not realize is the size of the project. “Yes, it’s just flowers and trees, but for the medians on Highway 90 alone there’s 1,365 ornamentals covering 8 medians along Highway 90 and a total of 38,500 square feet of sod,” said Watkins.


Lee Willingham, City of Milton landscaping department head is credited with the creative inspiration behind these projects. Public Works Director George Rials said the beautification efforts provided fundamental improvement for the community. “Lee Willingham touched everything. He provided design, including plant selection, as well as project management and maintenance operations once each project was completed,” said Rials.


Willingham said, “The face of the city has changed significantly as a result of these improvements; it has a new atmosphere. Plants and turf were chosen for their bloom, foliage shade and ease of upkeep. The city has color with less maintenance. We’re not out there constantly trimming. ”

The projects also highlight beneficial partnerships between the City of Milton, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC). Grant funding from FDOT makes beautification efforts along state roads within the City of Milton possible, while making Florida more appealing to the traveling public. Labor crews contracted with FDOC make maintenance of the landscape improvements cost effective while providing new skills and training opportunities for inmates.


“The city pays for two correctional officers and receives the labor of 20 able-bodied workers,” said Willingham. “This helps tremendously. The inmates assist with maintenance, helping city staff, all the while learning new life skills.”


The extensive, top of the line smart irrigation system, (paid for by the grant), monitors flow, detects issues such as breaks and excess water usage, and can shut itself off should the need arise, said Willingham. “It sends notifications by email if a break was detected, shut off and also tells me the location of the break. This saves time and labor. The system is wide-ranging,” he said. The irrigation system is maintained completely by city staff, including adjustments and repairs.


The City of Milton will continue beautification efforts and has a proposed project for median landscaping for Highway 90 West to Pond Creek Bridge submitted for grant funding. “We’re hoping to see the project begin in 2017,” Willingham said.


Watkins said, “The beautification people see along 90 and Dogwood will continue. The city council’s vision of a welcoming city, of flowers and blooming trees to set off our sidewalks and roads, is important for a first impression.”


Contact the Public Works Department for a list of flora and plant variety at 983-5410.



Highway 90 median’s makeover by the numbers:


Flower, perennial, shrub, evergreen            Spacing                 Qty         Size


Flax Lily                                                              18” O.C.                241        1 Gal


Breeze Grass                                                     18” O.C.                152        1 Gal


Rose, drift, red                                                  24” O.C.                375        3 Gal


Pink muhly grass                                              24” O.C.                358        3 Gal


Fakahatchee grass                                           36” O.C.                92           3 Gal


Burgundy Loropetalum purple pixie                             24   O.C.                69           3 Gal


Dwarf Japanese Yew                                        24” O.C.                78           3 Gal













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