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Date of Issue: December 31, 2008

Parks committee awaits grant notice

Members of the Holmes Beach Parks and Beautification Committee expect to learn in January whether they secured a grant for a public garden.

The city advisory group applied to the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for a $2,000 grant to create a Florida Friendly demonstration garden in the green space at Marina and Key Royale drive. The project cost would be shared by the city, with possible support from the community.

With its Bay Partners grants, SBEP awards cash for projects that promote Sarasota Bay education, bay restoration or bay-friendly landscaping.

SBEP invited businesses, non-profit groups, schools and civic associations to apply for grants of as much as $2,000 for projects within the bay watershed.

Watershed boundaries are from Anna Maria Sound south to the Venice Inlet and the barrier islands in between, according to SBEP public outreach coordinator Julia Burch.

An SBEP statement said a panel of the organization’s citizen advisory committee would review grant applications, weighing the proposed projects for ecological sensitivity, location, community benefit and budgetary requirements.

Holmes Beach’s project would be completed in three phases — phase one would involve removing turf and creating plant beds and shell paths; phase two would involve planting and mulching; phase three would involve installing a rain barrel and plant labels.

The garden would feature four areas — one consisting of about 30 groundcover plants, such as gaillardia, beach sunflowers and liriope; an area consisting of plants to attract butterflies, such as red milkweed, yellow necklacepod and horsemint; another area consisting of ornamental grasses, such as purple fountain grass; and a fourth area with flowering and fruit-bearing shrubs, such as beauty-berry, Christmas berry and wild coffee.

The parks and beautification committee hopes to begin work in the garden this winter if the grant is approved.

The committee’s next meeting will be 5 p.m. Jan. 7 at city hall, 5801 Marina Drive.

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