published Thursday, May 31st, 2012

Hamilton County Courthouse lawn's face-lift in 2nd phase

A Parks and Recreation crew works to beautify the lawn and flower beds in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse. Fresh dirt was brought in by dump truck and spread by workers.
A Parks and Recreation crew works to beautify the lawn and flower beds in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse. Fresh dirt was brought in by dump truck and spread by workers.
Photo by Tim Barber.
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The Hamilton County Courthouse lawn is in its second restoration phase as workers remove flowers, bushes and dead grass to make way for new plants and sod.

The county's Parks and Recreation Department is overhauling the lawn, which served as an Occupy Chattanooga campsite from November until March. County officials ordered the lawn restoration after tents left several large bare spots on the lawn.

Last month, crews removed five trees and trimmed others. Though local officials questioned whether the tree damage resulted from Occupy's campfires, City Forester Gene Hyde analyzed the trees and said their problems weren't directly linked to the camp.

The tree maintenance phase cost $9,600, but County Parks and Recreation Director Ron Priddy said in a Wednesday email that he won't have a cost total on the flower, bush and grass replacement until the project is complete.

He estimated that the landscaping could take at least two weeks, "depending on weather and the availability of plant material."

To make room for dump trucks hauling away dirt and debris from the courthouse, traffic has been narrowed to one lane in the southbound lanes of Georgia Avenue periodically this week.

The cornerstone for the current Hamilton County Courthouse was laid in 1912. Priddy said none of the work will involve retaining wall maintenance or new sidewalks.

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