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Roadways to receive face lifts

Selected roadways in St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg Beach, Clearwater and Dunedin soon will receive face lifts.

Thanks to grants from the state Department of Transportation, the four cities will be planting palm trees, leafy ground covers and flowers along some roadways.

"When people come to Florida, they expect to see the tropical look," said Roy Otto, St. Petersburg program administrator.

Otto said St. Petersburg received $146,600 from the state, which the city more than matched with $149,600. The state and city money will be used to plant foliage along the Pinellas County Bayway from 41st Street S to Isla Del Sol condominiums.

The rest of the Pinellas County Bayway in the St. Petersburg city limits, Otto said, already has gotten a face lift from past grants.

But portions of the Bayway within St. Petersburg Beach limits also will gain greenery with $188,000 of state and city money.

"We're doing our side of the Bayway and St. Pete Beach is doing their side," Otto said. "Now we'll have consistent landscaping."

Green thumbs also will abound in Clearwater. Ream Wilson, parks and recreation director, said the $38,988 of combined city and state money will be used to landscape along Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard from the city water pollution control plant to the Courtney Campbell Parkway monument site.

Dunedin will plant primarily shrubbery and ground cover with its $9,122 state grant, said Henry Gross, parks division director. The actual planting, which is the city's contribution, will be along Edgewater Drive from Scotland Avenue to Main Street.

"The area we're beautifying is a focal area for downtown," Gross said.

Each of the four cities was evaluated based on a point system of 13 criteria ranging from design concepts to the amount of local and financial support, Otto said. The 28 Florida cities with the most points received the state grants.

"We think of our roads as linear parks," Otto said.