Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Knoll Park Landscape Plan Completed

Fairhope, Alabama. (

New Knoll Park stairs

The Public Works Department has completed installation of the landscaping plan that was approved by the city council last September for the perimeter of Knoll Park.

The plan, designed by local landscape architect Joe Comer of Espalier Landscaping at no cost to the city, was intended to provide a compromise between those who wanted to continue with the controversial long leaf forest restoration project and those wanting to end it.

Working with Comer, the plan was implemented by horticulturist Fidler with few modifications: a packed-gravel wheelchair-accessible path was substituted for the original pervious concrete one -- and some different  plants were substituted.

$36,000 was budgeted for the project.

Comer's Landscape Plan

At a work session on Feb 23rd, the city council took a "straw poll" to determine if prescribed burning was to continue to be authorized; and it was decide to proceed for another year to see how it works out.

As before, Burrell and Brewer were in favor -- Boone and Mueller against; Mike Ford, the swing vote, conditionally approved.

Burrell asked Ford directly how he now stands: "We ... already voted on it...  lets try it once ... find out who is right or wrong ... if it works ... consider it again ... if it don't ... drop the idea forever."

Mayor Kant said he had directed Fidler to follow the council's directive; but the "experts" still needed to meet with her to determine how best to proceed.

Kant said there are three distinct areas subject to burning (according to the maintenance plan): "Its not my call ... whether some ... or all of it needs to be burned  ... the experts need to meet ... make sure it complies with all Resolutions passed by the council."

(see video below)

March 2015

Since this meeting, the project's advisers --  Comer, Fred Nation, Pat Waldrop, David Dyson Jr., et al. --  have been meeting with Fidler on the site to determine the optimal time/conditions for burning.

At last word, it was decided that if weather and other conditions are not acceptable by March 31st,  burning will be postponed until Fall. This is the Mayor's understanding as well.

(There has been some disagreement about timing among the advisers: The lack of fuel/combustible material currently on the site is a concern, since some mechanical maintenance and removal has been done over the winter. Mechanical and chemical control is permitted by the approved Maintenance Plan, but burning is the preferred method to encourage more-natural plant growth (wildflowers).)


The Times has learned that proponents are planning another seminar like one held last November  to help the Public better-understand the goals of long leaf eco-system restoration projects.

The event could be held sometime in May.

Knoll Park, March 14th

Suspicious damage discovered recently to two young pine trees is under investigation, according to city sources.

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