by Joni Astrup
Plans are in the works to plant trees in the median of Twin Lakes Road in Elk River next year as part of a city beautification effort.
The project area would run from 171st Avenue near the Northstar Commuter Rail station to County Road 12 near Walmart, according to Elk River Planning Intern Zach Carlton.
Plans call for 81 shade and ornamental trees to be planted. The species are red maple, hackberry, swamp white oak, emerald lustre maple, spring snow crabapple, Japanese tree lilac and pink spire crabapple. Preliminary estimate of the cost is about $30,000. The City Council has agreed to seek bids for the work.
Jeremy Barnhart, Elk River deputy director of community operations and development, said Twin Lakes Road north of County Road 12 has been identified for beautification improvements as a second phase in the future.
One of the city’s goals established in a recent visioning process was beautification, specifically to have “attractive, welcoming streetscapes at city entrances and primary corridors.”
Other city beautification projects have also been identified and some work has been completed. They include:
•Traffic signals: After this year, all but two of the traffic light systems in Elk River will have been painted brown or bronze. The remaining two — at School Street and Jackson Avenue and at School Street and Lions Park Drive — are tentatively scheduled to be painted in 2016 or as their condition requires. City Engineer Justin Femrite said the paint on those two is still in pretty good condition and they do not need to be repainted immediately.
•Entrance signs: The city is looking at installing monument entrance signs at some point at three locations: westbound Highway 10, southbound Highway 169 and northbound Highways 169/101. A sign already exists along eastbound Highway 10 by Lake Orono.
•Intersection improvements: Major intersections in the city are being identified for landscaping improvements. Some work, like at Highway 169 and Main Street, has been completed.
In addition, trees have been planted in the median of Orono Parkway as it runs past the Elk River Library and City Hall.