Group steps up effort to landscape bypass | NevadaAppeal.com

Group steps up effort to landscape bypass

Amanda Hammon

As city and state officials gear up to break ground on the Carson City freeway, a grassroots group determined to see the freeway corridor landscaped is stepping up its efforts as well.

With funds yet to be dedicated to landscaping the freeway, Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides began brainstorming a year ago how vegetation and bike paths could be incorporated into the freeway design.

Through the month of January, GROW will have an exhibit set up in the foyer of the Carson City Library laying out the benefits of landscaping the freeway.

Mary Fischer, president of Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides, said she hopes the display will help people understand the impact of the freeway on Carson’s landscape and the importance of landscaping it now.

“People aren’t aware of how big Phase I will be,” Fischer said. “We realize if (landscaping) is not developed as part of the project it won’t happen.

“Hopefully the exhibit will raise the public consciousness that the freeway is coming. We have a choice. It can be an asset or a scar running through the community. Funding can be available, but it’s really important for residents to say ‘we want this.'”

Fischer and fellow GROW member Marie Bresch said the freeway presents Carson City with the unique opportunity to create a linear park with paths, trees, flowers, shrubs and grass skirting the base of the freeway.

Fischer and Bresch joke they are starting a “squeaky wheel campaign” to help clinch money for the landscaping cause.

“Carson City has something special to offer everyone, and the beauty of the city is important,” Bresch said.

Fischer estimates the landscaping on the first leg of the freeway between $1.5 million and $4 million.

“We’re the capital city, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t be a showcase,” Fischer said.

Carson resident Kathryn Etcheverria examined the GROW exhibit at the library Friday. The exhibit includes photo illustrations of how the proposed freeway could look with and without landscaping. She said she was curious how the project would be funded but that it should definitely be a part of the freeway’s construction.

“Unquestionably we need the freeway,” Etcheverria said. “But the question is, are we going to do it right or will we have another eyesore here? A lot of educated and motivated people walk past here so maybe (the display) will help.”

Fischer said she and other GROW members are meeting with Carson City and Nevada Department of Transportation officials this week to start brainstorming landscaping ideas and cost estimates.

GROW, a group started by Master Gardeners of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, recently got its own spot on the Internet. Information on the 75-member group can be garnered from the website at http://www.growinc.org.

For more information on GROW, call 882-5055 or 882-6028.