Story by RUBY KEARCE
The DeFuniak Springs Beautification & Tree Board rescheduled its monthly meeting from Thursday, Aug. 4, to Thursday, Aug. 11. The board is working with Downtown Redevelopment Services to put together a Master Parks Plan Survey facilitated by Community Vision Workshops. The survey will gather as much information as possible from the community. The Beautification & Tree Board’s survey will run in conjunction with MainStreet.org’s survey.
Ben Levenger, with Downtown Redevelopment Services, attended the meeting via Zoom to discuss the content, format, and most beneficial avenue of distribution for the survey. The survey will be in two parts. Part one will consist of generic questions in regards to all parks, while part two will give respondents an opportunity to go more in depth on a specific park that they would like to see updated or repaired.
When asked the duration of the survey, the team from Downtown Redevelopment Services initially said Aug. 15 through Aug. 22, but Board Chair Kim Wennerberg asked if it were possible that it be released sooner. Since the survey is already complete, it was agreed that it be released on Friday, Aug. 12, and run through Monday, Aug. 22. The survey can be found pinned at the top of the DeFuniak Springs Beautification, Trees, and Parks facebook group page.
Downtown Redevelopment Services, will be holding Community Vision Workshops at DeFuniak Springs Community Center on Tuesday, Aug. 16, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.; and on Wednesday, Aug. 17 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. There will be feedback cards at the workshops and a printed map for community members to point out specific areas of interest.
The board will hold a special meeting once the survey is complete to discuss the next steps with Downtown Redevelopment Services on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 4 p.m. The board also released an independent street painting survey separate from MainStreet.org’s street painting survey, which ended Friday, Aug. 12. The feedback from that survey will be discussed at the next City Council meeting.
In other news, Tony Burnson, was unable to attend the meeting but wrote a first draft of the board’s letter to Florida Power and Light (FPL) in regards to their tree trimming practices. The small issues found in the letter will be brought to Brunson’s attention in order for him to rewrite and bring to the next scheduled meeting.
Wennerberg, also brought “I Tree,” (ITreeTools.org) to the board’s attention, and asked board members Micheal Goodchild and Glen Harrison to review the website and see if the board could benefit from its use. ITree is a website that brings peer reviewed estimations of tree benefits from the USDA Forest Service with free tools and support. Wennerberg asked that Goodchild and Harrison create an advisory report for the board to determine if the service could be of use.
The DeFuniak Springs City Council recently approved both the tree donation and tree replacement policies. So Wennerberg would like to create a graphic and start marketing the new donation policy to the public. Goodchild mentioned two trees that he is aware of around the lakeyard that need to be removed, which could be candidates for the tree replacement policy.