A3 County Courthouse Landscaping Plans.jpg

An architect’s landscaping plans show more walkway space and the removal of the two very large trees causing problems with their roots.

DALLAS -- Now that the Polk County Courthouse building has a completed facelift with a modernized exterior, the administration is finalizing plans to completely redo the landscaping on its main lawn.

However, to make room for the new, the community will have to say farewell to the two remaining large trees that have become problematic over the years.

“There used to be a sister tree to the really large tree in front that had to be cut down because it came close to destroying the hard scape, said Matt Hawkins, director of Polk County Administrative Servies. “The goal is to make it more community friendly, organizations can have activities on the lawn. As is, it’s not always conducive to what they want to do.”

The new landscaping has been in the works for a couple of years, Hawkins said, adding he had a set amount of money to budget left over from the building renovation project.

However, the original bid was sent back to the drawing board after it came in with a $550,000 estimate, Hawkins said.

“We felt that was a little too much at that time. We’ll see,” he said. “We pulled some things out, kept important things in.”

For example, the original plan called for a new Christmas tree to be installed, but was cancelled as too costly. But the new plans still have a place to the community to gather around a temporary Christmas tree set up for the holiday, Hawkins explained.

He said an arborist looking at the tree currently used for Christmas lighting ceremonies had roots that were encroaching on current hardscaping and planting a new tree amidst the new landscaping would eventually present the same problem.

The new plans call to remove the existing vegetation, and bring in new trees, shrubs, softscape and grass, in addition to some new walkways. Hawkins said some walkways needed replacing anyways and it made more sense to wait until the new landscaping went in around them rather than replace them twice.

Hawkins said the City of Dallas has already done good work on Main Street widening the sidewalks. The county plans to widen them more. This will allow for more activities and room to set up tents such as for vendors during Krazy Dayz.

Hawkins said he’s working with three contractors - Laurus Landscaping Architecture, EarthTech and Dalke Construction - to bring together the final plans and the final bids should be wrapped up this week. Demolition will start this week or next week. He added the completion goal would be to keep it responsible due to draught.

“We want to push out so mother nature can take care of soft scape naturally” he said. “So, I suspect it done later in October.”

He recommends checking the county’s Facebook page and commissioners’ pages for updates.

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