October 13. 2013 8:52PM

Islands on I-293 get sprucing up in Manchester

Staff report

MANCHESTER — Traffic islands at the I293 interchange at Granite Street are getting a sprucing up as city parks workers remove ovregrown weeds that have crowded out the flowering perennials and shrubs.

A crew began clearing the three islands and median strip Friday and should be finished with the landscaping makeover by the end of next week, said Peter Capano, chief of the parks division within the city’s Highway Department.

The clean up is partly the result of a nudge from West Side resident Jane E. Beaulieu.

Beaulieu said she began alerting highway and parks officials they were not maintaining the median and islands at the Exit 5 interchange as they were supposed to under an agreement with the state.

“They signed off on the project saying they would maintain it and they dropped the ball,” said the Ward 10 state representative and former city conservation commission member.

Capano said the neglect was partly due to lack of staff, who devoted most of their time during the summer and early fall to maintaining high-traffic parks and athletic fields.

“We were planning to go there. It was on our radar,” Capano said.

He said crews should be done clearing the site of weeds, making room for perennials and shrubs and bringing in bark mulch by Friday.

“It’s amazing what one taxpayer can do to make things happen in our city,” Beaulieu said.

Capano said the city relies on the volunteer Adopt-a-Site program to enlist individuals, groups and businesses to help keep parks maintained. But he said the Exit 5 interchange — with its multiple traffic lanes and highway ramps — is too dangerous to allow individuals to tend. A professional landscaping firm, however, would be able to handle the job, he said. Anyone interested should contact Jessica Chambers at the parks office at 624-6444.