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Over 200 trees will soon be lining Mobile Street as part of a beautification project decades in the making. The project will create a gateway to the University of South Alabama Medical Center and Crichton, according to Mobile City Councilman Fred Richardson who has been a part of the project since its earliest stages.
An early effort to widen the heavily-traveled, narrow street had failed before Richardson took office in 1997. When he got elected, he made it a priority to get it done, but it still took years and persistence until Mobile Street was finally widened in 2011.
The project gained further momentum as a community outreach project led by USA Medical Center and Administrator Beth Anderson and Assistant Administrator Elmer Sellers in the spring of 2012. What started as rough ideas came to full fruition when USA Medical Center hired the landscape architecture and urban design firm of LA+South to generate some initial designs for the Mobile Street corridor.
Once the initial studies by LA+South were presented to the City of Mobile in the summer of 2013, the firm was then hired to design streetscape improvements for the project site. The site is approximately one mile stretching from the Fillingim Street Bridge over Three-Mile Creek to just before the intersection of Mobile Street and Springhill Avenue. Those improvements, totaling $216,000, were then approved by the City Council.
“I see Mobile Street as an important gateway not only to the Medical Center but to Crichton, Trinity Gardens, and Toulminville. And USA Medical Center had the vision for what the beautification should look like,” said Councilman Richardson.
Since early December, landscape contractor Jubileescape has been busy. The improvements include the planting of 213 new drought-resistant trees such as crepe myrtles, pistache trees, live oaks, magnolias and bald cypress. Approximately 1300 new shrubs will be located in medians and along the creek.
New decorative street signs will be placed at every intersection. Forty dead or damaged trees will be removed and another dozen existing trees will be pruned. A dirt mound adjacent to the Fillingim Street Bridge will be leveled to help open up views of the creek. The project will be completed in early 2015.
“These improvements demonstrate a commitment to the community as well as our patients and staff,” said USAMC Administrator Beth Anderson. “The widening of Mobile Street to provide better access to the Medical Center for ambulances as well as the community was only the beginning of a joint vision of what Mobile Street could be reflecting on its rich history. We are delighted to be partnering with the community and city as we make this journey.”
On December 10, District 1 Commissioner Merceria Ludgood and the Mobile County Commission approved $50,000 of additional funding for Phase II of the project. The funding will go toward the purchase and installation of banner poles and banners along Mobile Street. These banners will promote not only USA Medical Center but historic aspects of the community.
While Richardson is pleased with the progress, his vision for the street is not complete. His future plans would include sidewalks on both sides of the street.
“This project has been a long time coming,” said Warren Greene, Medical Center Assistant to the Administrator. “We’ve had a great relationship with the city, Councilman Richardson and the Crichton community that enabled this project to come to fruition. To see the transformation is incredible.”
About the University of South Alabama Medical Center
The University of South Alabama Medical Center offers patient-centered care to the central Gulf Coast with unique services including Mobile’s only Level I Trauma Center and Regional Burn Center, plus Centers of Excellence in stroke care and cardiovascular diseases, and a wide range of acute care services.
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