DFS City Beautification & Tree board discusses train trestle mural, dog park, and bat house

By RUBY KEARCE 

The DeFuniak Springs Beautification and Tree Board met for its regular monthly meeting, Thursday, May 11. The board began by discussing the train trestle mural. Board Member Sommer Adams said that she had not been in contact with the designer of the previously viewed design from the previous meeting for two reasons. She has reached the financial limit. Adams received $250 for initial designs, and she has already reached $200 with more than $50 required for redesigns. Adams also wants to ensure that the board understands that these are just initial designs for an artist to have a better understanding of what the board wants in the mural. 

Board Chair Kim Wennerberg stated that she would rather have the designer superimpose the design on a replica of the train trestle in order to have a better understanding of the design. This way the board can give a more informed list of recommendations. Wennerberg believes that it should not cost more than the $50 remaining budget. 

Then the discussion of an attachment, rather than painting, was brought up, something like a sticker. That way no one is impeding traffic, it could be pre-done and then attached. Adams has already done some research on the “sticker” option and stated that the estimated cost for that would be $6,000.

Wennerberg has ensured that FDOT is on board, with an approved scheduled lane closure, in order for the mural to be painted/ installed. No motions were made regarding this matter. Everyone will take the topics discussed today and bring options back at the next meeting. 

Discussion then moved to the dog park. The favored location from the previous workshop held regarding the dog park was the lot behind the National Guard Armory. The city currently uses that lot as a “lay down lot” but they only use it a few times a year. Wennerberg’s belief is that the highest and best use of that property is a dog park rather than a “lay down lot.”  

Wennerberg would like to get a survey of the property in order to reorganize everything for the city to still be able to use the back portion of the lot. Reasons for it being the favored location include the fact that it is almost completely fenced. Little needs to be done as far as landscaping, and parking is already nearby. A motion was made and passed to approach the DeFuniak Springs City Council regarding a dog park at the location. 

Discussion then moved to the broken asphalt located on 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Streets, just off Main Street. It would cost approximately $200 per area to fix. A motion was passed to proceed with getting the areas patched and to check other avenues as well. 

Joe Proffitt with FFA (Future Farmers of America) had contacted Wennerberg to ask who could put together a raised bed garden at the water tower property in DeFuniak Springs. Proffitt has a Floriculture and Vegetable team at Walton Middle School looking to create a partnership with the city. The construction class at Walton Middle can craft the beds, and possibly get IFAS at Walton High and Master Gardeners involved as well. 

Proffitt was unable to attend this meeting but will be in attendance at a future meeting. Board member Mike Goodchild said that some of his previous co-workers are master gardeners and could help design the bed. Goodchild will work on getting into contact with the master gardeners he knows in order to see if this is something they want to help with. 

Wennerberg then discussed the possibility of placing a bat house somewhere to keep them from invading people’s homes. Goodchild responded that near the Walton – DeFuniak Public Library would be a good location for pedestrians to view and keep them away from the library. The board agreed to continue looking into placing a bat house in an appropriate area. 

A citizen made a comment at the end of the meeting about a few hazardous trees near the homes on Baldwin Ave. One of the trees appears to have been struck by lightning and has debris falling on vehicles parked near it. The citizen also pointed out that the city does not maintain the trees around these homes, even though it is considered part of Main Street. She is asking for an overall clean up of the area and better maintenance on the trees. Goodchild agreed that the damaged tree needs to be taken down and will start communicating with the appropriate people to resolve the issue.