Troup County to compete for state landscaping grant

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 14, 2015

Money would be used for exit 13

By Tyler H. Jones

LaGRANGE — First impressions are important.

That’s why the Troup County Board of Commissioners on Friday approved an application to seek a $50,000 state grant to spruce up the landscaping of the Whitesville Road exit on Interstate 85.

County Manager Tod Tentler said the grant, which is offered by the Roadside Enhancement and Beautification Council of the Georgia Department of Transportation, would be used to install a variety of plants and shrubbery to give the area a more inviting feel. It’s also part of the Mission Zero Corridor project, a public-private initiative to make Interstate 85 one of the most environmentally friendly stretches of roadway in the country.

Under the proposal, the county would use the grant money to plant new grass, trees and bushes along the northeastern side of the interstate. The plan calls for the city of LaGrange to take responsibility of the adjacent northwestern side of the roadway and complete a similar project.

Earlier this year, city and county officials, along with private partners, commissioned a landscape master plan for a 16-mile stretch of the interstate from exit 2 in West Point to exit 18 at Lafayette Parkway in LaGrange. Some portions of the master plan are slated for installation at exits 2 and 18 in late fall or winter of this year. Two additional wildflower plantings are also scheduled for a total 5-acre area at exits 14 — Hamilton Road — and 18.

Exit 13, where the $50,000 grant would be used, is considered by city and county officials to be a strategic location for enhancement and development. Officials recently announced an indoor water park and accompanying conference center is possibly slated for the location.

While the grant will fund the installation of the landscaping, the ongoing maintenance in future years will be up to the county. The estimated yearly cost would be about $20,000, according to the project description. That would include mowing, edging, mulch replenishment, watering and litter removal.

Inmates from the county’s correctional institute would be used to provide the labor for upkeep, Tentler told commissioners Friday.

An estimated 26 visits by inmates would be made yearly to maintain the landscaping.

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter at LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.