Spencer to spruce up downtown planter boxes

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 11, 2021

SPENCER — The Spencer Board of Alderman has approved a plan to update the town’s downtown planter boxes.

The plan, created by the town’s appearance committee, hopes to spruce up the planters on Salisbury Avenue and Fifth Street. Among the recommended changes are removal of some crape myrtles to improve intersection visibility. All of the trees left will be trimmed appropriately for the next growth cycle in the spring. The plan will begin immediately so the trees can be trimmed this month.

The boxes will be populated with other plants to see what works best downtown, with different varieties down Spencer’s numbered blocks.

“That means you have some variation in age and variety,” Mayor Jonathan Williams said.

On Fifth Street, the planters are inconsistent, with some empty and others overgrown. Those will be cleared and replanted with other species.

Public Works Director Joel Taylor said there have been some complaints to the town from store owners on the block about the state of the planters.

“It completely blocks their storefronts,” Taylor said, adding the planters are starting to constrict walking area as well.

The project has an estimated cost of about $5,000, but the town is also working with a local student pursuing an Eagle Scout award to solicit donations and other fundraising efforts to cover the cost.

Williams said he was shocked the estimate for the project was so low.

In other news from the meeting:

• The town issued a proclamation recognizing Black History Month.

• The board’s monthly meetings have been moved an hour earlier to 6 p.m. beginning next month.

• Former Park Plaza awnings are to be reused in the town’s central business district. A full plan will be proposed in March.

• The Spencer Police Department has noted an increase in thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles across Rowan County. Police Chief Mark James made a point of mentioning the increase in thefts during the meeting.

“We have someone throughout the county, and it’s occurred in our town as well, removing catalytic converters from vehicles,” James said, noting the thief seems to be targeting Toyota Prius models.