Landscaping Committee estimates $43,905 cost for Boothbay Common improvements

Citizens’ group also presents maintenance plan for roundabout and Common
Fri, 01/11/2019 - 7:30am

Boothbay’s Landscaping Committee wants to make the village’s center sparkle in the years to come by sprucing up the roundabout’s and Common’s appearance. Last year, the committee began working on a maintenance plan for the roundabout. Selectmen increased the committee’s workload a couple months ago by seeking the group’s opinion about maintaining the Common.

On Jan. 9, the committee presented its recommendations on both projects. The Common was in such poor condition, several town officials considered completely or partially closing it for a summer. But the committee rejected that proposal. Instead, the committee proposed an estimated $43,905 maintenance plan.

The Boothbay Common Project lists eight areas to improve. The project calls for four new trees planted at an estimated $6,220 total cost. Turf repair would take between one and three days at a $2,365 daily cost. Turf fertilizing and weed control would cost $2,995. Common aeration and overseed would cost $3,650. Pruning selective trees would cost $1,500. Signage would cost $2,850. The Common’s entry would be regraded and paved by the town crew, which wouldn’t cost any extra municipal dollars.

The largest expense is irrigation at an estimated $22,000. “If you don’t do this then you shouldn’t do anything else because it won’t matter,” Committee co-chairman Linda Redman said. She told selectmen how this one component was essential to the entire maintenance project. The committee also recommended hiring a part-time maintenance person to ensure the project’s completion.

Boothbay Selectman Steve Lewis thought hiring an additional person made more sense if the town hired a full-time person. “We already hire a part-time person in the winter to help out with the plowing. So why not hire a full-time person who is responsible for the Common maintenance in the summer, and continue through the fall and winter in the current job,” he said.

Committee co-chairman Susan Whitehouse updated selectmen about the group’s original task, creating a maintenance plan for the roundabout. She reported there are 80 trees and shrubs along the roundabout. “You wouldn’t know it because they are all so small, but it won’t be long before they are all big beautiful trees and shrubs,” she said. 

The proposed roundabout’s maintenance plan calls for a spring cleanup beginning in late April or early May. It includes cutting back perennials and feather reed grasses, raking, sidewalk sweeping,  weeding, woody shrub pruning, repairing plants damaged during the winter and shaping growing plants, application of pre-emergent weed controls on all beds and application of three inches of fine texture and dark mulch on all beds.

In the summer, weeding would occur monthly in June, July, August and September on a consistent schedule. The fall cleanup  includes a second cutback of perennials and feather reed grass in late October. The watering plan consists of 10 gallons per week during  the growing season or during a drought. The landscape includes 80 trees that need watering, according to the committee. “There is no irrigation provided except in a limited way immediately around the town hall so water will be brought to the trees,” Whitehouse said.

The committee recommends mowing the Common, roundabout and town hall. The committee is seeking donations for funding both projects. The committee  will provide selectmen donation pledges at a future meeting prior to municipal budget considerations.