Members of the Appearance Committee propose plant bed renovations

The last major streetscaping on Main Street took place 20 years ago.

The purpose of the Moorestown Appearance Committee has always been to give advice on all architectural and aesthetic aspects within town. In keeping with this goal, members of the committee were present at the Town Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 28 to discuss the flower bed situation on Main Street.

At the meeting, Gina Zegel, vice chair of the committee, and Steve Chepurny stood before council while chairperson Karen Chigounis sat in the audience. Together, Zegel and Chepurny presented a synopsis of what’s been going on the last few years and included a proposal that renovations be made to the many plant beds on Main Street.

Zegel recalled that the last major streetscaping took place in 1996 and its results were beautiful, supported by residents and it lasted for a while. Yet 20 years later, much of this work has deteriorated, especially in terms of the hardscaping and drastically in the planted material.

“What we have done is come up with a plan to try to fix the hardscaping where it’s problematic, and also add to the plant material,” Zegel said. “This presentation to council is the culmination of the Appearance Committee work that included site inventory, going to each plot and inventorying what’s in the plot, meetings and conversation with members of the Business Association, the Moorestown Garden Club and the Moorestown Tree Committee.”

The proposal was separated into several parts, and the committee asked council to treat each part as a separate request, but it also expressed that each part is equally needed.

Part one would include the remediation of seven planted areas where people open their car doors, which then bang into the blue slate surrounding the flower plots.

The second part of the proposal involved planting trees. After discussions with the Tree Committee, including chair Josh Gibson, it was determined that new trees that are both low maintenance and disease resistant are ideal for planting; the Armstrong Red Maple and Hackberry were suggested. The tree planting project would also include the removal of overgrown, high maintenance perennial trees.

The third phase would involve developing a Main Street curbside planter maintenance plan that would include an early spring cleanup and a late spring spring planting or refreshing of mulch, and the same for early fall and late fall.

“That would take care of all the leaves that got caught in the bushes, and refreshing everything and pulling the last bit of weed out,” Zegel said.

Part four would deal with organic weed killer and ridding the soil of weeds. Zegel said part of this problem has to do with business owners not sweeping the street off when soil is created by leaves mulching naturally.

Part five involves continuing to revive Main Street and entails establishing streetside plots from Church Street past Chester Avenue. The underplanting of trees or the planting of small shrubs and weeping shrubs for 70 plots down this section of the street would be needed. This would require a small budget, which the Appearance Committee estimated at $9,300.

Along with this estimate, the Appearance Committee also included budget estimates in its proposal for all other phases of the remediation. Although town council would still need to get quotes as per public finance laws, if it chooses to complete the renovations, the estimate was intended to give council general figures and details on pricing to help guide its decision.

Concluding the presentation, the members of the Appearance Committee proposed that its suggestions be added to the budget and that work start as soon as possible, hopefully beginning with a cleanup and planting in the spring.