Contractor clearing trees for Oakhurst StreetscapeAn artist's depiction of the Oakhurst streetscape project. Source: Decaturga.com
The city of Decatur says its contractor is removing several trees today as it continues its preliminary construction work on the Oakhurst Streetscape project.
According to the Decatur Minute, “Three large trees to be removed have been repeatedly damaged by utility line clearance. Other trees to be removed are in areas that will be impacted by new, wider sidewalks and more generous outdoor dining areas.”
The city says the contractor will remove the parking lot at Harmony Park in order to make the park bigger. Because of this, “one large tree will be removed to provide an area for replacement angled parking,” the city says.
Trees are hot topic in Decatur. This year the city strengthened its tree ordinance to better regulate tree removal.
“Changes to the landscape are always dramatic,” the Decatur Minute post says. “However, new trees will be planted throughout the project area as part of the streetscape improvements, including large shade trees where not in conflict with overhead utilities.”
When completed, the project will transform the heart of Oakhurst at the intersections of Oakview Road, East Lake Drive, West Hill Street and West Benson Street. There will be new sidewalks, lighting and trees along these roads. The project will also increase the size of Oakhurst’s Harmony Park. Off-street parking on the park’s south side will be replaced with a pedestrian plaza.
City Commissioners approved a project budget of $2 million and awarded a $1.4 million contract during their regular meeting on Oct. 20.
Funding will be provided by a state Department of Transportation grant of $1 million and $985,000 in bond money from the city’s capital projects fund.
The project will take about 12 months to complete.