Students plant trees along 43
Published 7:00 am Wednesday, June 24, 2015
On Tuesday, Eric Morris, public works director for the city of Picayune, supervised the planting of 46 crepe myrtles along Highway 43 North.
Crepe myrtles are native to China and other tropical and subtropical countries so they are widely grown in warm regions for its colorful flowers, according to Britannica.com.
Every summer the city applies for the Urban Youth Grant through the Mississippi Department of Transportation, said Morris.
The grant enables the city to hire students aged anywhere from middle school to junior college. Students are required to go through an application process, and hiring begins as soon as the grant is awarded.
MDOT specifies how the money will be used each year. This was the second year the money went towards landscaping, said Morris.
“Last year we planted live oaks on GoodYear Boulevard,” said Morris.
Crepe myrtles were chosen this year to fill in the gaps in landscaping, said Morris.
“The mayor and the City Council have challenged us to beautify our city so that’s what we are working to do,” said Morris.
Last winter the city found out the grant money would once again be used for landscaping, and that is when Morris began submitting cost data as well as what he wished to plant to Special Projects Manager Christy Goss. The city was notified in the spring that it had been awarded the grant, said Morris.
The grant totaled $42,000, and was an 80/20 grant. This means the MDOT was responsible to pay 80 percent of the grant while the city was responsible for 20 percent, said Morris.
“We had already budgeted for the 20 percent last year,” said Morris.
The 80 percent paid by MDOT will cover wages for the summer employees, as well as the materials and supplies used for the project, said Morris.
Morris along with Daryl Smith, supervisor over grounds and beautification, organized the work.