Tampa is making huge improvements along Bayshore Boulevard in advance of the Republican National Convention. But three days of flooding is taking its toll on the city's landscaping project.
The city committed more than $600,000 to spruce up Bayshore, and it recently planted 42 fully-grown palm trees, which cost more than $2,000 each.
Some of those trees have toppled in the flood. But all of them are at risk as long as they are swamped in Bay water.
The good news is that these palm trees are tough and durable.
Water was already clearing on the road Wednesday morning, especially on the southbound side heading toward Gandy and MacDill. Those lanes are higher and father away from the water.
The roots were soaked in fresh water before the Bay water seeped in, giving them extra protection from salt. So the city could save all them.
"They do have a moderate salt tolerance. It's one of the top reasons we selected them in the design," said Tampa Parks and Recreation Department Supervisor Brad Suder. "We'll have our best minds out there looking at it… and our best assessors out there looking at it."
Of course, salt water will kill grass and wipe our small plants, shrubs and wreak havoc on landscaping. But the city is lucky on that point, because much of the landscaping committed to the project has not yet been planted.
We confirmed most of the plants are safe in a Clearwater nursery, and the entire project is insured.
The city can't assess damage to the trees that have already been planted until the water recedes.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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