Collaboration is the key


Ken Herndon, Director of Operations at Louisville Downtown Partnership, called to say that he is working with some of the Second Street businesses to enhance the streetscape. He wanted to get our opinion about  a particularly challenging median area between Jefferson and Market.

We met at the site and the questions were: What would be appropriate species selections for the narrow median that is hot and dry? What will survive? The first thing that comes to mind are the native trees that will grow in poor soils.

It turns out,  Mike Hayman, our Senior Adviser, had ordered several ‘Green Point’ Red Cedars (Juniperus virginiana) from one of our western Kentucky nurseries. ‘Green Point’ is a cultivar that was selected for market production because of its narrow growth habit and durability. Because it is a red cedar, it should survive-and thrive-at this site-think junipers growing on highway rock faces. So, we offered to donate the trees for the project.

But collaboration doesn’t end there; because the site is under the purview of the Kentucky Department of Transportation, we needed the approval of the Roadside Vegetation Administrator to plant. Cindy Marquel had, not coincidentally, used this particular cultivar at one of her other planting sites and has developed an appreciation of its characteristics. She said she would be happy to partner in the project to get the trees in the ground.

Maintenance at a site like this is critical for plant survival, especially in the first year or two of establishment. We consulted with Erin Thompson,  Louisville Metro’s Urban Forester and Katie Doran at Metro Facilities. Katie had previously done some planting in the site: it was already on her maintenance list, so she agreed to water the junipers.

The trees were delivered and planted within a week’s time. And we have plans to enhance the planting site in the fall of 2017.
This is a classic example of how a successful project can come together when there is inter-agency cooperation and collaboration. It’s how we roll.