By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — Another plan under way in Jeffersonville designed to be a highlight to pedestrians and bicyclists is Jeffersonville’s Tree Walk.
The plan was borne out of an idea from the Urban Enterprise Zone to plant trees throughout the city.
Kelly Phillips, UEZ director, said in 2011 a tree inventory in the city was completed and the UEZ committed $40,000 to planting trees in the city. While some plantings occurred at schools and at Memorial Park, a plan was developed to plant trees along the city’s streets instead.
The plan devised was to create a 19-block tree walk, starting near Chestnut and Spring streets, which will veer to Maple Street and run out to Mechanic Street, where it returns to downtown via Market and taking a short jog onto Riverside Drive.
“The idea is within a block [of the Big Four Bridge] you pick up this trail and it takes you 19 blocks trough downtown,” Corbin said. “Tree[s] won’t be repeated and they all have a unique characteristic. There’s a different theme for every block. It’ll be visually pleasing to walk through because you’ll see a lot of different species that you wouldn’t normally see on a street.”
For example, plans call for one city block to be comprised of flowering trees, while another will be have fall foliage trees.
“Instead of going out and planting a bunch of maples somewhere, why don’t we do something with a theme that is an amenity, a tourist attraction or something different,” said Shane Corbin, Planning and Zoning director for the city, referring to the project’s inception. “There [are] parks that have tree walks ... but to have them laid out like this, in different themes per blocks, I think is really unique. [It’s an] extra reason to actually explore a little bit of Jeffersonville; it makes their walk more interesting.”
Phillips said if the plan moves forward, the tree walk would be the only one of its kind in the country.
Aside from being a beautification project, the plan may also provide green infrastructure so the city could capture more stormwater and reduce Combined Sewer Overflows, Corbin said.
An additional $10,000 has been pledged through the planning and zoning department for the plan. The total estimate from the project planners totaled about $1 million, but Phillips said that does not take into account the amount of work that could be done in-house to control costs.
She said the plan is for UEZ engineering and park staff to cut the concrete and dig holes for the trees, but to have nurseries install trees so there are warranties.
Hopes are that the tree walk could be completed as early as spring 2015, but several factors must still be weighed, including what type of tree wells to use.
Corbin said the city plans to plant one block of eight to 10 popular street trees between Market Street and Riverside Drive within a month. Those plantings may dictate how quickly the plan moves forward.
“We’re hoping to get a few blocks done this spring,” Phillips said.