Council tills for landscaping bids

The New Prague City Council began tilling for a landscaping project around City Hall as the council unanimously approved the advertisement for bids on the project.

Chris Cavett of Short Elliott Hendrickson (S.E.H.), Inc, the city’s engineering firm, presented the plans and specifications for the landscaping project at the council’s Monday, June 3, meeting. The estimated cost for the project is $39,000. The landscaping will be around City Hall, in the south parking lot and the new north parking lot.

Part of the job includes work near the entrance of the Parks Department. Blacktop that isn’t needed will be removed and replaced with green space. Plants and trees will also be added to area and boulevards around City Hall. The south parking lot will be reconstructed with green space to be part of the work.

The new City Hall parking lot will be built north of First Street NW and will have nearly 30 parking spaces. It will have a variety of greenery, including trees and bushes. There will also be two rain gardens on the south side of the parking lot where water can drain off to and be filtered.

City staff has identified approximately four to six qualified landscape contractors who can provide quotes for bids. Cavett said the quotes will be opened on Tuesday, July 2, and awarded on Monday, July 15.

Cavett said they talked about the landscaping with city staff. He noted they worked off of a theme of using mostly plants that are native to Minnesota. A lot of communities are using the practice as ecologically, native plants can do better.

Council member Pat Scripture said the north parking lot will have more than 1,000 plants. She asked if that was somewhat excessive. Cavett replied they are mostly small plants. Scripture also asked about trees planned for the area, which are oaks and crab apples. She had concerns about the oak dropping acorns, crab apples from the other tree and how the oak tree branches would spread to 60 feet.

Cavett said that nearly every tree a person plants produces something. He said the oak tree was one used in a lot of urban areas. He added the acorns and apples should fall in the green space. The spread of the oak tree was to provide canopy for the area.

City Administrator Mike Johnson said the city had help from a landscape designer. They looked at different species with the help of the landscape designer. The trees and plants were considered for their disease resistance and their ability to provide beauty and color.