SAFETY HARBOR — Plain Jane Philippe Parkway is about to get a lush $669,000 makeover.
In June, the City Commission is expected to give final approval to an improvement project that in part involves building medians from the Church Street area north to Enterprise Road.
Each traffic island will contain hundreds of plants, such as crepe myrtles, ligustrum shrubs, flowering Indian hawthorn and sabal palms that aren't as imposing as the tall Washington palms dotting the downtown core.
The mixture "requires less watering,'' said Keith Zayac of Keith Zayac & Associates, the civil engineer and landscape architect managing the project.
One resident requested that oak trees be planted, but that suggestion was turned down.
"Oak trees were just not an option,'' said City Commissioner Mary Lynda Williams. "They grow too big and would damage the road.''
The project also calls for resurfacing and restriping the road.
It is a capital improvement project paid for by Penny for Pinellas and the city's street improvement fund.
Initial plans call for construction to begin shortly after the project's approval in June and finish around December.
"It will make for a quieter street, a more environmentally friendly street, a more beautiful street and a safer street,'' said city engineer Bill Baker.
He acknowledged some traffic backups may occur during construction, especially at rush hour.
When the project is finished, there will be a reduction of stormwater and pollutant runoff, Zayac said.
Williams said with this project, the city will save money by laying less asphalt and help the economy by putting people to work.
Also, she said, "There will be a beautiful corridor coming into downtown.''