Thursday, February 01, 2007

Cleaning up I-29

As the Herald is reporting in Thursday's paper, the North Dakota Department of Transportation is in the middle of a project to spruce up the I-29 corridor through Grand Forks. Right now, the work consists of removing dead and dying trees and vegetation. Next year, the project's second phase will consist of new plantings to replace those being removed.

I think this is fabulous news. Lately, I have seen crews removing the ugly, old Russian Olive trees. I hate Russian Olive father always calls them "scrub trees". Whoever had the brilliant idea back in the 60s to plant hundreds of these eyesores along the Interstate? Here's hoping that the DOT finds a better, more attractive tree to plant along the Interstate this time around.

The I-29 corridor has long been neglected and has fallen into a state where it could almost be described as an embarrassment. Not a Gateway Drive type embarrassment mind you, but not something the average citizen feels proud of either. As an avid gardener, one of my biggest pet peeves is how poorly public plantings are usually maintained.

I'm thrilled that the Interstate corridor is finally being cleaned up, but it shouldn't stop there. How about the four interchanges leading into the city? They are filled with dead and ugly plantings. It isn't as noticeable this time of year when everything is dormant anyways, but the interchange plantings are an eyesore during the warmer months. About ten years ago, whoever was in charge of the interchange areas had the brilliant idea to plant hundreds and hundreds of bushes. They were never properly maintained. The Gateway Drive interchange seemed to be the worst. Every summer, the grass and weeds would grow so thick and get so high that they would almost totally obscure the bushes. Over time, the bushes finally died and most have now been removed. Think of the thousands of dollars that were spent on those bushes. Then think of how they were never maintained and finally died and had to be dug up and thrown away. What a terrible waste of money.

Here's hoping that the ongoing Interstate cleanup project spreads to other areas with public plantings. Here's also hoping that the thousands of dollars worth of taxpayer money the DOT will spend on new trees and bushes this time around doesn't end up being a waste like it has been in the past. Finish cleaning up, then plant new, then maintain. It's simple, really.

In my opinion, Grand Forks is a beautiful city and projects like this (if properly executed and maintained) will hopefully make it even more attractive.


Matthew said...

I can't imagine what else we could use this money on than cutting down trees and planting new ones . . .[/sarcasm]

Anonymous said...

I don't mean this to be judgmental, but either you get it or you don't. Things like this really do affect quality of life on an almost subconscious level.

Matthew said...

You want to increase the quality of life of everyone who drives through on the interstate before you address the quality of life of the people who actually live here?

Apparently, I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

As I understand it, the "upgrades" will be done mostly in and around GF interchanges; areas that will become more and more part of the fabric of the city as it grows.

GrandForksGuy said...

Matthew, are you saying that people who live in Grand Forks don't get anything out of the Interstate? I live in Grand Forks and I drive on the Interstate several times a week. Also, in the future, the city will expand further west of the in Fargo. It will run right through the middle of town and become more and more a part of the city.

Regarding its benefit to those who don't live here...the Interstate is the first "welcome" that most people get when they come to Grand Forks so I think it is important for it to look tidy and attractive. I think the Interstate interchanges are probably the most crucial entrances to Grand Forks so I think we should put time and effort into making them look the best they can.

Anonymous said...

well i totally agree buddy. you have thousands of people driving by on a daily basis. why not add some sparkle to the interstate and show them that grand forks cares about how it looks.