After a year, progress made in freeway landscaping plan
After more than a year of haggling, grassroots groups and local and state government agencies are coming to an agreement over the future landscaping of the Carson City freeway.
Over a year ago, Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides started lobbying the state to make sure the slopes of the Carson City’s freeway would hold more than just dirt and weeds.
Their efforts ranged from rallying support of city committees to a resolution by the Board of Supervisors supporting a linear park through town to instigating a letter-writing campaign to members of the state Board of Transportation.
A year later, landscaping proponents have toned down their request from a full-blown park to a slope reclamation project using native grasses and brush.
The Nevada Department of Transportation recently formed a landscaping technical advisory group, comprising city, state officials and the gardeners as well as other local horticulturists, to work out landscaping and revegetation details.
“One year ago, we were at a standstill,” GROW President Mary Fischer said. “We were saying, ‘This is what GROW wants.’ NDOT was saying it wasn’t possible, there was no way to work out a compromise.
“I think we’re making good progress. We’re talking and I think everyone is trying to think this through and make it work out. The whole atmosphere has changed. Everyone on both sides is willing to find a common ground.”
On Wednesday, the Carson City Regional Transportation Commission will get a glimpse of the landscaping group’s vision for freeway landscaping.
The conceptual draft of the landscaping/revegetation plan proposes three different seed mixes, said city Park Planner Vern Krahn.
One seed mix would be used for the south and west freeway embankments, another for the north and east embankments to accommodate the different exposures.
“The seeds haven’t been completely identified, but we’re looking at the vegetation in the community,” Krahn said. “If we’re successful, you could walk out the back door and see the same thing (on the freeway slopes) you’d see in the foothills or the Pinon Hills.”
A third seed mix will be used in what are being called the community and neighborhood gateways. The community gateways are the intersections of the freeway interchanges at Arrowhead Drive, College Parkway and Highway 50 East. Krahn said the advisory group wants to see landscaping in those intersections similar to the hardy landscaping at the Reno-Tahoe Airport.
The landscaping would also blend with adjacent landscaping. Businesses at College Parkway incorporate boulders into their landscaping, so boulders probably will be added to the College intersection design, Krahn said.
Neighborhood gateways at the freeway overpasses over Emerson Drive, Northgate lane and Carmine Street probably will have more vegetation than the rest of the freeway slopes.
Funding continues to be the one unsettled issue with the landscaping/revegetation project.
The state has no estimates on how much the landscaping/revegetation project will cost. What features the landscaping plan will have when it is finished is dependent on funding.
“In my mind, the whole thing comes down to having money,” said Jim Gallegos, freeway project manager. “We all realize we’re up against some sort of budget constraints and we’re trying to deliver this with that in mind.”
If you go:
What: Regional Transportation Commission meeting
When: 5:30 p.m., Wednesday
Where: the Community Center’s Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.
For information on the freeway revegetation project, head to the Web at http://www.growinc.org.
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