Sarasota County commissioners voted to experiment with wildflower plantings at the Fruitville Road and I-75 corridor during an April 9 regular meeting.
County staff suggested that augmenting or replacing median growth with wildflowers could reduce mowing costs, improve aesthetics and generate positive environmental and economic impacts. Commissioners directed staff to return with a plan and cost estimates for a pilot program in north Sarasota County.
Sarasota County Traffic Engineering Manager Tom Maroney said the plan would bolster the agriculture industry by supporting populations of pollinating bees, which enhance blueberry, strawberry and citrus plant populations.
Potential costs range from $1,200 to $4,600 per acre for installation and maintenance in the first year, according to the presentation. Staff first pitched the idea in 2007 as a cost-saving alternative to mowing county-owned areas.
“I’m going to be out of office in a year, I want to see one flower planted,” said Commissioner Joe Barbetta.
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