NEWTON GROVE — Town and state officials are looking forward to paying homage to the military through a popular and busy roundabout in northern Sampson County.
Laura Wheeler, a member of the CING (Citizens Improving Newton Grove), made a presentation regarding the landscaping project through the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Along improving the look of the circle, Wheeler said the project will honor men and women serving in the military.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for us,” Wheeler said.
Currently, the design consist of four 19-foot walls with memorials at the north, east, south and west sectors of the circle. Plans for one wall includes flags of the United States and North Carolina. The third mentioned was the Honor and Remember flag. The proposal for the location on the circle is between N.C. Highway 13 and U.S. Route 701.
Some of the scenery plans include plants such as drift roses and lily turf. Mayor Gerald Darden reported that existing flag in the center may be moved near another monument.
While discussing traffic in the circle, Commissioner Cody Smith made a suggestion to relocate walls to avoid damage from vehicles.
“They need to shift them to where they are on the inland side, exiting the circle, instead of entering the circle,” Smith said.
Wheeler said she’ll contact NCDOT engineers about the matter. During initial plans, she said the goals was to make it an attractive sight for drivers passing through.
“Our goal is to let the Seymour Johnson (Air Force Base) troops see it and the Fayetteville Fort Bragg troops,” she said. “That why we suggested maybe doing two sets of flags.
For maintenance issues, Smith wanted to make sure the area was accessible for mowing or any other landscaping upkeep. The layout for the project includes turf on the exterior.
“I would like to see the beauty of it, but it should be easy to maintain,” Smith said.
Wheeler said the state will provide maintenance at the beginning of each year. The town will be responsible at other times. It also includes an irrigation and lighting near the walls and other locations.
Smith recommend to table the matter until a final drawing is presented. Other commissioners mentioned how the plans will probably not change since it came from NCDOT officials. Wheeler said some ideas may be tweaked with the assistance of Darden.
“I would hate for us to do anything that would slow it down because this slows our planting down also,” Wheeler said.
An official completion date was not announced, but Darden said officials wanted to begin at the begging of June. But a bid process is required for the monument walls.
A few years ago, Newton Grove officials approved a resolution for a new landscaping projects on Weeks Circle. This required an agreement between the town and NCDOT. The initiative is part of an overall enhancement project. It was previously reported that the cost of the grant was about $50,000.