Chesterfield merchants worried plants in median will die

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – Hundreds of new plants cover part of the median along Midlothian Turnpike. Businesses invested big bucks for the beautification project, but some now worry their money is being wasted.

Even for drought-resistant plants it's hard to "look alive" when Mother Nature's amped up her spotlight. And Macon Richardson knows it.

He and more than 300 business owners in the area are paying extra taxes for the median make-over that's grabbed the attention of customers.

"First thing they go, 'Oh my gosh. This looks great,'" said Macon Richardson, general manager of Ultimate Backyard. "Second thing is, 'Oh my gosh. Have you seen the little baby plants down at the end of the street?'"

Some of the baby plants look dull and thirsty. Some trees are orange and brittle when they should be green. The last thing Macon wants is for any of them to die now that the economy is revived.

"Since we've started this revitalization we've got a lot of new businesses. The shopping center across the street from me has three new businesses coming in," said Macon. "You know with this drought, with the lack of rain, the 98 degree temperatures, these new little plants need all the help they can get."

According to landscapers everything in the ground is drought-resistant, but the plants still have to be watered constantly until the roots are established. Chesterfield County, which is organizing the project, reports a maintenance agreement requires the landscaper to do significant watering. If any plant dies the contractor must replace it and cover the cost. Macon likes that agreement but hopes exchanges aren't needed.

"The beautification in the median out here would be awesome. It's going to give people something they haven't seen in a long time," he said.

The planting is almost complete. The contractor is required to maintain the area for the next five years.

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