Thursday, July 4, 2013
The Town of Mount Pleasant Public Service Department has taken over landscaping at the Mount Pleasant Post Office that sits in the middle of the new and improved Johnnie Dodds Boulevard.
The property had become a blight against the new landscaping along the boulevard and residents took notice.
I’On resident Dayna Elliott contacted Mount Pleasant Town Councilman Elton Carrier to see if something could be done. The pair had no idea it would take years to cut through the federal red tape just to spruce up landscaping.
But according to Mount Pleasant town administrator Eric DeMoura, through Carrier’s leadership, town staff was able to perform needed landscape improvements to the U.S. Post Office property at a minimal cost. “Since most of the landscaping installed was left over from another project, the main cost to the town was labor. Now the property fits in nicely with the larger beautification project on Johnnie Dodds Boulevard,” he said.
Carrier first contacted the Town Pride Committee and quickly learned that they too had been trying for years to get permission to spruce up the grounds with no success at all.
“They never could get cooperation from the federal government,” Carrier said.
So Carrier went to work, making contact with the Post Office and (then) Congressman Tim Scott’s office. Between Scott’s pressure and that of Dave Anderson, Interim Post Master, the ball started rolling.
“All we were doing is asking for permission to go on-site and do the work at our expense, labor and liability and make it nice,” said Carrier.
“That seemed to be a problem with the federal government. Dave Anderson had to get permission all way to Richmond, Va. to make it happen.”
Carrier said this started in March 2012. “We waited and checked and we had not heard back. We were getting exasperated. Everyone understands the federal government has budget problems and they can’t and won’t do the landscaping themselves,” he said.
Finally, permission was granted, and using a Palmetto Pride grant, which stipulates a clean-up project must be included to qualify, the clean up began.
Jody Peele, Director of the Mount Pleasant Public Services Department, and Matt Maurer, Deputy Director of Public Services oversaw the project.
Crews initially went in and cleaned up the site in April. Once landscaping and work slowed on the Johnnie Dodds Boulevard improvement project, crews put in plantings which will be watered and maintained by town employees as if it belonged to the town, Carrier explained.
“I am hoping to do some more improvements at entrance to the property, but even now, it looks 100 percent better,” he said.
Public services had already applied and been awarded the Palmetto Pride grant but it had not been used.
That is when Peele allocated a portion of that grant to this project.
A similar situation on John’s Island took place when citizens there wanted to see improvements to their post office landscaping.
Maurer said crews will be watering the plants for the next few weeks to make sure they get established. What was planted in the medians were Sweetgrass, Loropetalum and Lariope, complete with pine straw.
Upon establishment, public service crews will water the plants roughly once per week to keep them healthy and growing.
(Sully Witte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more online at www.moultrienews.com).