The Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee began its fall-spring meeting season Oct. 5, the first they’ve held since May, with the election of new chairman Jerry West.
West also was appointed as liaison to Keep Manatee Beautiful.
Once the election was complete, the committee quickly began addressing issues carried over from last season. The strip of shrubbery next to the bus shelter near Wells Fargo Bank was discussed, with worries expressed over the fact that some plants are dead. The important question before moving ahead with any replanting is whether or not the land is a public right of way.
Plantings along 63rd Street are currently on hold until drainage in that area can be addressed. The committee agrees that native plants would do well along that strip.
The beautification of the Kingfish Boat Ramp, which has been a work in progress for five years, should finally come to fruition. After an unsuccessful attempt at planting shrubs in the area, there are now 64 live oaks which are beginning to grow. “These will yield a 50-foot canopy and complete shade within 10 years,” West said.
Also carried over from last season is Grassy Point, a preservation area across East Bay Drive from Walgreens. Seven Australian pines were recently removed, and new foliage is needed. The committee discussed the mayor’s interest in possibly constructing a boardwalk and observation tower in the preserve, noting that grants will have to be pursued for these and other future projects.
In new business, the committee noted the need to replant the traffic islands at the corner of Manatee Avenue and East Bay Drive. As this area is sometimes the first viewed by people coming to Holmes Beach, it was roundly agreed that the unkempt appearance should be promptly addressed.
Two years ago, the islands were beautification award-winners, and the hope is to restore them with native plants.
Also, there is interest in pursuing new shade trees for 77th Street where three Australian pines were recently removed. They have been replaced by very young live oaks, as well as a large fishtail palm, but these trees will not provide shade similar to the pines.
The possibility of a memorial tree for that area was suggested by Commissioner David Zaccagnino, and the committee agreed to an overall five-year goal for 40 percent canopy in the area.
West noted it will be difficult to create canopies in a town which is already so developed and only becoming more so.