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Alternative plans continue with PIB medians

Staff Photo: Keith Farner City officials are looking at ways to grow unique native grasses to medians like this one on Peachtree Industrial Road near Suwanee Dam Road. Heavy wind from traffic has caused the grasses to die.

Staff Photo: Keith Farner City officials are looking at ways to grow unique native grasses to medians like this one on Peachtree Industrial Road near Suwanee Dam Road. Heavy wind from traffic has caused the grasses to die.

SUWANEE -- The Peachtree Industrial Boulevard medians project has moved into a Plan B phase.

City officials are looking at alternatives to the medians along the road to keep the unique look they hope native grasses create, but also combat weed problems. After native grasses were planted in the spring, summer heat and wind caused by traffic has led to weed problems and dead grass in most of the medians.

The landscaping project of 15 medians was designed to develop a distinguishing look as motorists enter the city, as opposed to overgrown weeds or common grasses.

"They planted it, and did all the things to make the grass grow, but those same things also make weeds grow," Suwanee Planning Director Josh Campbell said. "The weeds grew and they were hesistant to spray the weeds because they didn't want to kill the grass."

So workers from Russell Landscaping, which was awarded the contract for the project, hand-weeded one median on PIB south of Suwanee Dam Road to see if the grass plugs could develop.

Another option is planting larger plugs to see if they are more durable, or can be distinguished from weeds.

"Then you got a sense, OK, this is what we were going for all along," Campbell said. "We still wanted to see if bigger plugs give us a better chance if we're going to plant more of these islands."

Throughout the project, city officials have said it wasn't the easiest or simplest landscaping project to undertake. They have also preferred a low-maintenance or maintenance-free design in the long term.

"We knew it would be challenging when we did it," Campbell said.

Campbell said he met last week with the city's landscape architect and project manager to discuss options for the project, but they hadn't finalized a proposal for a planting schedule moving forward, or what could be done on the project during the winter months.