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Landscaping starts at East Innes and Interstate 85

Staff report
Long-awaited landscaping improvements along East Innes Street at the Interstate 85 interchange have begun.
After drought delayed the planting for months, the city got permission from the N.C. Department of Transportation in April to start placing ornamental trees, shrubbery and flowers in the medians leading from the highway into the city.
Distinctive NatureScapes, a Salisbury company, is doing the work, which will spruce up a major entryway into the city.
The improvements will create a “more attractive appearance,” said Dan Mikkelson, director of land management and development for Salisbury.
“So many people who come to Salisbury for the first time get off at that interchange,” he said.
Drivers lured to Innes Street by restaurants and other businesses will get a better impression of Salisbury, Mikkelson said. They will see professional landscaping instead of mulch and weeds.
The city also has plans to landscape along the sides of East Innes Street near the interchange.
Lynn Raker, the city’s urban design planner, said in May that the city got the approval too late in the spring planting season to do the whole landscape plan for the interchange.
But city staff also asked the Department of Transportation to start that bidding process and award a contract for the rest of the project so plants and materials could be reserved for a fall installation of everything else.
If fall planting is possible, the landscaping will have been delayed by only a year.
With the Southeast in the grip of a historic drought, the Department of Transportation had put a moratorium on all landscaping projects, but with Salisbury’s ample supply of water and the slight easing of drought conditions, the project was allowed to begin going forward.
Rowan County remains in an “extreme” drought condition, according to the N.C. Drought Management Advisory Council.

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