05/19/04 — Royall Avenue will get spruce-up from Appearance Commission

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Royall Avenue will get spruce-up from Appearance Commission

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on May 19, 2004 2:02 PM

Soon crepe myrtle trees will line parts of Royall Avenue, if the Appearance Commission has its way.

The group is hoping the railroad company, which owns the right-of-way between William and Bane streets, will waive the annual leasing fee since the tree planting is part of a beautification project.

There's money available in the city budget to plant the trees, and the city would not have to mow as much in that area.

"The idea was to lessen maintenance by planting the trees and putting in large beds of mulch," said Gary Smithwick, chairman of the Appearance Commission.

The project hit a slight snag recently when the Appearance Commission learned that the North Carolina Railroad Co. charges an annual fee to use the land. The minimum fee is $500.

Since the area would be improved by the tree planting, the board hopes it can work out another solution with the railroad company.

Board members also want the railroad to know of the cleanup efforts that have occurred during Litter Sweep on the railroad right of way.

And the city has bought a litter vacuum to pick up debris on the sides of Royall Avenue.

Smithwick suggested at Tuesday's meeting that the board invite a railroad representative to discuss options.

Simonne Cato, director of Keep Wayne County Beautiful and a member of the Appearance Commission, said she hoped something could be worked out.

"In addition, new businesses on Royall Avenue are complying with the city's more stringent landscape rules, so we need some uniformity," she said.

City Planner Darryl Best said it was important to talk with the railroad as soon as possible. The board plans to hold another meeting within the next two weeks.