Trees, shrubs, flowers being planted in median

    A portion of Route 13 in southern Smyrna is getting a facelift.
    Landscaping work began last month on three medians on Route 13 through Smyrna, between Smyrna-Leipsic Road and Mill Street, near Lake Como.
    This week, workers began planting a variety of grasses, perennials, groundcover and shrubs, plus some small, ornamental trees.
    The plans also include a new epoxy surface texture for these medians.
    This landscaping work has led to lane closures along Route 13 during the construction.
    Plans to add landscaping along Route 13 in Smyrna have been discussed for years, but now it’s finally happening.
    According to Smyrna Town Manager Dave Hugg, the project was financed by state legislative funds secured by the late Senator Jim Vaughn and Senator Bruce Ennis, who was a state representative at the time.
    The project was undertaken at the request of the town, but the construction is not being funded by town money, Hugg said.
    Hugg said the new landscaping will make Smyrna’s Route 13 corridor appear more attractive to residents and visitors, but he expects to see other benefits as well.
    Hugg said Route 13 will look less like a major highway and more like a community road, which tends to make drivers slow down.
    “People see the town largely by whatever roads they travel on,” he said. “It sets the image for the town.”
    Matt Spong, a registered landscape architect and the principal owner of Landscape Architect Services, developed the design for the landscaping along with his staff.
    He said the landscaping was designed to “create an entrance into the Town of Smyrna, so it doesn’t just look like a highway in an urban area.”
    “We’re trying to bring some of Smyrna’s unique character out to Route 13, and make a statement that you’re coming into Smyrna,” Spong said.
    This kind of landscaping has traffic calming and environmental benefits, in addition to making the town look more inviting, he said.
    Spong said the construction contract for this phase of landscaping work was awarded for $112,000.
    The project will probably be complete in late October, he said.
    “It’s coming along as planned,” Spong said. “We hope to be done at the end of this month.”
    Hugg said that other stretches of Route 13 in Smyrna might also receive the landscaping treatment next year.
    The second phase of the project would likely cover the medians on Route 13 between Mill Street and Commerce Street, he said.
    In the future, the landscaping project might be expanded to other parts of Route 13 in Smyrna as well.
    Senator Bruce Ennis said the intent of the project is “to solve some traffic problems and also enhance the appearance of the town.”
    He also noted that the town would probably be looking for additional funds for more landscaping along Route 13 in the future.
    “I think if it helps the traffic situation and the appearance of the town, I’d be supportive,” Ennis said.