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Archives for September 13, 2016

Work Begun on Phase 1 of Buzzards Bay Park Improvement Project

BUZZARDS BAY – Planners, stakeholders and town officials gathered Monday to break ground on the Buzzards Bay Park improvement project.

It required around 18 months of planning, and construction on the first phase of the project will include the installation of irrigation, an electrical upgrade and a replacement of the current walkway.

Main Street Steering Committee Facilitator Sallie Riggs helped gather ideas for the project. She said it’s just one part of a larger vision for a village which is nearly devoid of small businesses and lacks economic promise.

“The town administrator even said he wants to be able to come down Main Street and buy a pair of pants, which he can’t do,” she said. “This should work together with other projects coming to town; anything that makes this a more attractive village will be an improvement.”

Riggs attributed the village’s lack of economic prosperity to the arrival of Interstate 195, which she said took traffic away from downtown Buzzards Bay.

She said a survey of Buzzards Bay residents indicated that many of the features which are planned for Phase II were highly desirable.

That part of the project will include more landscaping, a play area with a splash pad, a pavilion with an outdoor movie screen, and a Memorial Grove with a walkway. The park will also eventually be outfitted with wifi connectivity.

Phase one is being funded with Community Preservation Act funds, while phase two remains unfunded. Building on that part will commence once funding is available.

The restoration project is part of an effort to revitalize the Buzzards Bay area; a hotel with conference space is also in the works.

Although the project’s funding factor is still somewhat in the air, Riggs said she is pleased that the area will likely receive the attention it deserves.

“There are some changes coming to this village,” she said.

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Landscaping Tips & Trends

The story below is a preview from our September/October 2016 issue. For the full story Subscribe today, view our FREE interactive digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!

There’s a lot more to landscaping than simple yardwork, including factors like weather, seasons and acreage. Learn a few tips on budgets, when to plant and more!


While the term “landscaping” is more of a catch-all for lawn, garden and property maintenance, it also includes design, new plantings and installation, including patios, retaining walls and sidewalks. While outdoor trends tend to come in waves, outdoor entertaining is a growing trend even for the cooler seasons. Fire pits are hot right now (literally and figuratively), while adding living space is important to those looking to increase their time outdoors.

Jason Childress, landscape designer for Varsity Landscaping, says many clients are adding outdoor kitchens, areas for hot tubs and other ways to utilize backyard space for family and social use.

“People tend to be going away from the standard deck on the backyard,” Childress says. “They want more flexibility with levels, tiers, outdoor lighting and audio, and all the other options available now.”

Childress has a horticulture degree from Virginia Tech and stresses the importance of using professional landscapers for your home. The right company will have knowledgeable, educated staff who keep up with continuing education practices like new innovations, new designs and plants. Along with experience and know-how, they’ll also have the right licensure and contractor’s license so you have no liability as a homeowner and everything will be done the right way.

“It’s great if you want to DIY, but many times the project turns out to be bigger than originally expected. We can help finish it in a timely and correct manner,” says Childress.

On the fence about a new landscaping project for your home? Many businesses will begin with a consultation, walking through ideas and suggesting ballpark figures to give homeowners a better idea of what needs to be done. A good landscaper will be honest about not only the budget, but the layout and design. Some plants might not work for a particular area of the yard, or a patio may not be able to sit out back due to your yard dropping off into a large hill (or in our region’s case, mountains).

Thinking about the resale value of your home? Start the landscaping now. “It’s hard to create dynamic curb appeal a week before you list your home unless you’re going to spend a fortune on mature plants,” Childress explains. “If you know you’ll list your house in two years, and it’s a mess, start the work now. Then you can touch it up when you’re ready to list. You can always trim and clean up, but a complete landscape redesign takes time to grow into the space. It doesn’t happen in a weekend like on HGTV!”

“It’s easy to make stuff look good the day you leave if you over-plant but it’ll be a nightmare in two years after it’s grown in. There are a lot of variables: how plants perform, their size, sun and shade requirements and more.”

The most important thing to consider for your landscaping is a long-term investment. “Even if you want to break something down and do a little bit each year, you need an all-encompassing plan and road map to know where to start and the order of operations. Know what order makes the most sense, and what value will you get of it.”

When is the best time to plant?

Late October or early November is actually the best time. Turns out the cold weather thing is a myth! The fall is prime time to plant whether it’s trees, shrubs, perennials or many other varieties. Once the root system is in the ground, it’s warm and protected. Childress says they can even plant in January with great results. If you’re looking to add on to your garden or re-landscape your front foundation bed, now’s the time.

“Everybody gets a planting bug in the spring with flowers coming out, but they’re going into summer and that’s a tough stretch for plants,” says Childress. “You have to baby them, water and hold their hand through the summer. If you go away on vacation, you better have someone watering them to keep the summer heat from killing it while you’re gone! Plants grow roots 12 months a year–when the next summer comes around, that plant is ready to fend for itself much better.”

What about general landscaping in the fall?

Fall is the time to shut down irrigation; landscapers do a lot of leaf clean up, trimming and cutting back on trees, shrubs and perennials. Thinning out is good for this time of year. Childress also advises to get those rakes and backpack blowers out–we know full well what our yards look like once the leaves start to fall.

Landscaping is more than just about aesthetics: if those leaves sit all winter long on your yard, the weight will choke out the turf and cause it to die. Leaves can be composted, though it’s about a one year process before they’ll be ready to go in the garden bed. Your turf needs sunlight or it can bleach out. Manage the weeds with lawn treatments throughout the summer; once under control, late fall is an ideal time for lawn aeration and heavy seeding for grass to grow where weeds once stood.

What are this season’s big trends?

Fire pits are definitely great for the fall and add a layer of design to your yard. Accessories such as low-voltage landscape lighting and LED fixtures are big too. The lights help for not just security, but also aesthetics. You can uplight your beautiful trees as well as avoid trip hazards by lighting up the pathway to your front and back doors. Landscape lighting isn’t necessarily cheap, but you want nice, heavy fixtures that will last through the seasons and years.

… for the rest of this story and more, subscribe today, view our FREE interactive digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!

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DOT Officials Discuss Ideas For I-84 Viaduct Replacement

When contractors dismantle the 2-mile I-84 viaduct sometime in the next decade, engineers want it replaced with something vastly less noisy, ugly and obtrusive.

Building the new stretch at ground level or partly below grade is a huge start, they say, but much more can be done with tree-lined overpasses, carefully landscaped embankments and perhaps a greenway from Sigourney Street to Bushnell Park.

“How do you integrate the highway more into the city so you don’t see it and hear it so much?,” said Mitch Glass, urban designer with the Goody Clancy consulting firm, told a planning group Tuesday

State transportation planners expect to discuss possible answers with residents and local businesses over the next two to three years of design work for the multibillion-dollar viaduct replacement.

“There are sections where we could build a cap (over a new, lower-than-grade highway) to give a tunnel effect,” said Rich Armstrong, project manager for the state transportation department.

But he and other engineers emphasized that a cap would be more cost effective along some part of the new highway than others. Capping a nearly 2,000-foot section from could cost somewhere in the field of $2 billion, they said. Capping just the the 900-foot-long Asylum Street to Broad Street stretch, however, would cost only $350 million to $425 million and provide one of the chief benefits: New space above the highway for business or residential development.

About two dozen city residents, business owners and others attended the session at the Immanuel Congregational Church’s fellowship hall.

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Landscaping deal for Jackson roundabout nears approval

The Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization soon will have permission to install landscaping in several areas in and around the new uptown roundabout in Jackson.

The organization’s director, Bob Schooley, said the “Growing Together Program,” a plan to upgrade 11 concrete spaces with greenery, was its idea and has been in negotiations for more than a year.

“It goes back to when we first saw the renderings and blueprints for the roundabout plan,” he said. “It’s probably a year and a half ago now; we started discussing all things uptown Jackson related so that they knew where we were coming from.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation’s original plan was to have concrete in the center of the roundabout, which is zero-maintenance but drab.

The new arrangement will be officially adopted at the next Jackson Board of Aldermen meeting.

“There are two agreements here,” Jackson public-works staff engineer Erica Bogenpohl said. “There’s the Growing Together agreement between MoDOT and the city, and there’s the memorandum of understanding between the city and [the organization].”

MoDOT initially was hesitant to entrust upkeep in such a way because third parties typically have a higher risk of dissolution. MoDOT can avoid that risk by partnering with the city, which then will allow the Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization to take the reins on installation and upkeep.

The Uptown Jackson Revitalization Organization will provide all necessary funds for landscaping and upkeep, which will be handled by Cassi Bock Landscaping and Flower Gardens.

“It’s looking like an initial cost of $15,000 and an annual maintenance costs of two to three thousand dollars for landscaping,” Schooley said.

Schooley said the landscaping will complement uptown Jackson as a whole. In a similar vein, the organization also helped urge the city to have MoDOT use locally sourced limestone instead of plain walls to match existing uptown buildings.

“We’re really happy to have this opportunity,” Schooley said. “It’s just about the beautification of our district — getting rid of as much of the concrete as possible and putting in something better.”

The roundabout itself hit a slight hiccup, forcing crews to begin striping Monday night and bumping the traffic shift from Monday to Wednesday.

MoDOT resident engineer Brian Holt said during the board of aldermen meeting, however, the project as a whole is still “two to three weeks ahead of schedule.”

(573) 388-3627

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Seabrook officials extend outdoor water ban to Dec. 31

SEABROOK — Selectmen unanimously approved extending the outdoor water ban through the end of this year due to the severity of the drought that has gripped the region.

The recommendation to extend the ban came from Water Superintendent Curtis Slayton, based not only on the condition of the town’s wells, but also on the long-term forecast he received from authorities at the state Department of Environmental Services.

The ban was originally to run from July 7 through Oct. 1. Slayton recommended extending the ban on outdoor water use to Dec. 31 because at last week’s meeting, DES personnel told municipal officials they expect the lack of rainfall to continue at least until the end of November.

“Sunday’s rain didn’t help much; we only got about an eighth of an inch,” Slayton said.

Slayton said the drought is of historic proportions, according to state officials. It’s being compared to the one that dried out the region in 1985, the longest ever. But with no relief forecast this fall, that record could fall.

In general, when the weather is normal, communities expect wells to recharge during the wet seasons of spring and fall, Slayton said. This year’s spring was pretty dry, he said, and the fall is looking dry as well. With winter coming, when precipitation comes in the form of snow that doesn’t make it down to the wells or aquifer until it melts in the spring, continuing to conserve water is important, Slayton said.

By extending the water ban, he said, the town will be able to do everything it can to preserve safe water levels in the underground wells that provide all the town’s water.

The outdoor watering ban has helped, Slayton said. Without the ban, Seabrook has been known to use more than 2 million gallons of water a day during the summer, when the population swells and people add landscaping, vegetable gardens, pools and exterior cleaning of homes and vehicles to their list of water uses. 

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Since the ban was instituted this summer, Slayton said, most residents and businesses have pitched in and made sacrifices. The result is a daily water usage rate that’s dropped to between 800,000 gallons and 1 million gallons a day.

“People are really doing their part,” Slayton said. 

There have been a few, however, who have defied the ban, and they’ve had warnings.

“Last week we got in touch with a couple of people who had signs (indicating their green lawns were due to) well water,” Slayton said. “They were really using town water.”

Water department officials can judge the amount of water used by meter readings, and when water usage rises over a certain number of gallons per period, staff drop by the homes and post notices reminding people of the outdoor water restrictions.

According to the town ordinance, water is primarily for drinking, cooking and hygiene. Other uses are prohibited, including the watering of lawns, trees, shrubs and gardens, filling pools and washing vehicles.

Exceptions are made for commercial gardens and agriculture, including the maintenance of livestock. Also allowed is the watering of home vegetable gardens on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday, but only between 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.

Violations can result in fines of $100 for each separate incident, and repeated violations can result in offenders having their town water service terminated.

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Happy Village Sale to New Owners Stalled By Longstanding Liquor Ban

Beloved neighborhood dive Happy Village, known for its serene back patio and indoor rec room, is for sale.
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EAST VILLAGE —  The sale of Happy Village is still underway to the owners of Lucky’s Sandwiches who plan to keep the beloved neighborhood dive — known for its serene back patio and indoor rec room — exactly as it is, with a few improvements such as adding glassware and turning away rowdy trolley revelers, it was announced on Monday.

But in order for the liquor license to change hands so Happy Village second-generation owner Cherlyn Pilch can retire and sell her building at 1059 N. Wolcott Ave. and business to Jonathan Connelly and Joseph DeRosa, a longstanding liquor ban needs to get lifted.

At the East Village Association’s monthly meeting attended by a few dozen residents at The Winchester on Monday night, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) said he is willing to lift the liquor moratorium, “as long as Happy Village stays Happy Village.”

Joe Connelly, co-owner of Lucky’s Sandwiches, speaks to members of the East Village Association.
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Hopkins said he will also require Connelly and DeRosa to work with community members and agree to a “Plan of Operation” that will be attached to the license and once approved, the plan will be posted online, joining over 200 other Chicago business that are required to operate under more restrictive plans of operation.

Connelly said that he is willing to work with the East Village Association to draft a Plan of Operation.

While Connelly and the crowd brainstormed possible specifics of the plan, which could include not allowing rowdy trolleys and buses to idle outside the bar, turning away already intoxicated trolley riders, hiring security and prohibiting live music in the bar garden, nothing was ironed out or drafted at the meeting.

Daniel Johnson, president of the East Village Association, said that did not have a date on when that plan draft will be completed but the group and Connelly agreed to begin drafting it.

Connelly said that he has given “earnest money” to Pilch and lawyers on both sides are finalizing plans to complete the sale. However, when talks first started last March, Connelly said he was not aware of the existing liquor ban prohibiting sales on Wolcott between Division and Augusta.

“There have been a lot of hiccups on this sale,” said Connelly, who admitted to being at a point of “deal fatigue” on the logistics.

Months ago, Connelly and DeRosa sold their Wicker Park Lucky’s to new owners so that they could focus on Happy Village and Lucky’s Sandwiches in Wrigleyville.

Pilch was not at the meeting and was not immediately available for comment early Tuesday.

Hopkins said that he has met with Pilch on two occasions and her desire is to retire and sell the bar to Connelly and DeRosa.

As far as complaints go, Hopkins said Happy Village has very few in regards to noise, litter and public intoxication.

Donnelly got applause when he said that he might make a few changes, such as serving drinks in glassware instead of plastic cups.

“Besides a few minor needed improvements to the building that will preserve the well-being of this historically Landmarked building, such a general maintenance, landscaping, painting and repairs to the property, we plan on running the business as it has always run,” Connelly wrote in a letter that was given to attendees.

The letter also promised that Happy Village will continue traditions of sponsoring neighborhood sports teams, hosting community meetings, donating gift certificates to charities and welcoming nonprofit fundraisers to “enjoy one of the finest beer gardens in the city.”

The only opposition to lifting the ban came from a few neighbors who live across from Happy Village.

After the meeting, Michael Reed, who lives within 150 feet of Happy Village, said noise is a concern, especially from the beer garden.

“Bars should be seen and not heard. Happy Village is heard,” Reed said.

Another neighbor of the bar for the past 20 years said, “I’ve heard too many breakups on my stoop.”


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