Columbus tree project delayed

Published 3:45 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

State awaits federal wage scale prior to bid

A project to plant trees in front of businesses along Columbus’ I-26 corridor has been delayed until March 2012.

Columbus Town Manager Jonathan Kanipe told town council Thursday, Dec. 15 the N.C. Department of Transportation (DOT) is unable to put the project out for bid until the federal government releases the state wage scale, or guidelines on how much the state can pay contractors. The project includes the Polk County Appearance Commission, the town, the DOT and the Polk County Community Foundation (PCCF). The PCCF awarded the project $10,000 and the DOT is also providing funds for the purchase of the trees, some of which is federal funding.

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The project was originally scheduled to go out to bid in November with the trees set to be planted at the first of the year.

The PCCF approved an extension on the funding until March, Kanipe said. The DOT has indicated the project should be completed by March.

Polk County’s Gateway Tree Planting Project was first envisioned by the Polk County Appearance Commission last year to improve the aesthetics of the entrances of Columbus, Saluda and Tryon. The Mills Street project will include planting more than 40 trees from I-26 to Walker Street along the town’s I-26 business corridor. The species of trees include 16 maples, eight cherry trees and 18 oaks.

The trees will be planted along rights of way owned by the state in front of Columbus businesses.