Darlington citizens give feedback on tree project

Darlington residents T.C. and Patsy Sawyer were among the citizens who reviewed the plans for the city’s new South Main Street Tree Project last week. Photo by Samantha Lyles

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

At two public meetings held last week, Darlington citizens got the chance to offer input on the city’s plan to plant 73 new trees on a major thoroughfare.

“This is a public comment period to get some feedback from the community on the South Main Street Tree Project,” said City of Darlington planning director Lisa Chalian-Rock.

The City of Darlington Tree Board created the plan with consultation and recommendations from arborist Debbie Dickinson. Factors like root spread requirements and drainage were taken into consideration when selecting and placing tree positions, and the Tree Board also expressed a preference for flowering trees, which will present well along this main entrance into the city.

Potential tree types range from colorful Yoshino Cherry and crape myrtle to sturdy oaks and magnolias. The variety and staggered plantings will also offer protection in case one species is infected with blight, slowing or stopping it from spreading to others further down the street.

“The Tree Board also wanted to consider future canopy, but providing canopy over five lanes of traffic with power lines already there is pretty difficult. We can’t promise too much canopy, but it would be really nice to see,” said Chalian-Rock.

The trees will be planted along the west side of South Main Street beginning near the Food Lion supermarket and extending about .08 miles north to Allen Street.

“On the other side of the street, SCDOT will be installing sidewalks, so we wanted to plant starting on this side, then go back and plant more on the other side after the sidewalks are completed,” said Chalian-Rock. “We’ll get the lay of the land after the sidewalks are in just as we did on this project. (Planting sites) depend on where there is pavement, ditches, utility poles, billboards – all those factors are taken into consideration in the selection and placement of the trees.”

At the two public comment sessions, held July 31 at noon and 6 p.m. inside the A.W. Stanley Gym, city residents were able to examine a large street map marked with photographs of trees and their possible planting locations.

If citizens particularly liked a certain tree selection and placement, they could mark that site with a green sticker. Conversely, if they disapproved of a tree for some reason – such as excessive abscission (leaf loss) – and feared it would cause maintenance worries, they could tag that site with a red sticker. All public comments and tags will be referred to the Tree Board for consideration before the plan is finalized.

Chalian-Rock said that most of the trees will be planted in the public right-of-way, and only a few sites will require residents to grant the city permission to plant on private property. Estimated cost for purchasing, planting, and maintaining the trees for the first year is around $19,000.

Two more public comment sessions are scheduled for noon and 6 p.m. at the A.W. Stanley Gym (100 Allen Street, Darlington) on Monday, August 27.

Author: Rachel Howell

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