GROW ready to earn money for freeway landscaping | NevadaAppeal.com

GROW ready to earn money for freeway landscaping

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer

Armed with official approval of a freeway landscaping plan, Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides is looking for new members to help secure funding for $1.4 million of freeway revegetation.

GROW members have spearheaded a nearly four-year effort to see the Carson City freeway slopes revegetated with more than weeds. After years of work, GROW members presented to city supervisors Thursday a landscaping and revegetation plan they, Carson City staff and Nevada Department of Transportation officials have worked on for 1-1/2 years.

Support of community members and city leaders is important, said GROW President Mary Fischer, as GROW members begin fund-raisers and writing grants to garner the money needed to revegetate the freeway’s slopes. Having more members indicates the project is important to the community and equals more clout, Fischer said, in the fight for grant dollars.

“You can’t go after something that’s not important,” she said.

City supervisors thanked GROW members for their dogged pursuit of a revegetated freeway. Supervisor Robin Williamson said Carson would have had freeway slopes like Reno’s with “Chernobyl dust that nothing could grown on except weeds” if not for GROW’s efforts.

“From where we started to get here is outstanding,” Williamson said. “For decades, our community will be grateful to you.”

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Supervisors presented the group with a framed, brass, thank-you plaque and a conceptual drawing of the Arrowhead Drive intersection with landscaping.

“We want you to know we appreciate your toil and your efforts…and most importantly the success (your group) had on making your vision become a reality,” Mayor Ray Masayko said.

Initially, state officials had no plans for revegetation along the 3.8 mile freeway corridor, and the idea of barren freeway slopes hosting weeds nearly caused a GROW-led community uprising.

GROW won some important battles in the revegetation fight, ultimately leading to NDOT assistance and funding of irrigation infrastructure. The state also will make sure the freeway slopes will be able to support plant life, planned to be native vegetation from wild flowers to sagebrush. As a side benefit, GROW’s work led to a state policy that landscaping be considered in all future state road projects.

The freeway will feature native vegetation along its slopes with interchanges landscaped with native vegetation, trees and boulders.

Fischer said the group has collected $1,100 toward funding the freeway, but will need even more community support to raise the rest of the $1.4 million for the landscaping.

“It’s doable,” Fischer said. “We’ve enjoyed working on it, and we’ll continue to work on it.”

The nonprofit group has 75 members. Fliers on the organization are available at City Hall, 201 N. Carson St., or the Carson City Library, 900 Washington St. Head to the Web at http://www.growinc.org.

For information on GROW, call Mary Fischer at 882-6028 or Jan Brown

Membership in the organization starts at $10. Head to the Web at http://www.growinc.com.