The first option, which would cost between $48,000 to $72,000, would plant about a dozen trees along Church from Mill to Polk streets with no loss of parking spaces.
The second option, which would cost between $151,000 and $226,000, differs from the first in that curb line along the west side of Church would be relocated to allow for a wider sidewalk and landscaping, narrowing Church Street travel lanes from about 15 feet to 10 feet wide, said Dan Conn, the city’s public works director.
Mayor Steve Tumlin, whose law office is located on Church Street, said this is his favorite option.
“The tree plan, I think, in 1 and 2 are similar,” Tumlin said. “What makes No. 2 more likable is the wider sidewalk. We like the pedestrians on the Square, so making it cooler, making it where you can walk on the Square I think is a big plus.”
The third option city staff presented to the Council during its series of committee meetings on Wednesday, which would cost between $84,000 and $126,000, would eliminate six parking spaces, but have about twice the number of trees planted than the first two options.
“That makes it more in line with how many trees we have on the Square,” Conn said.
The final option would install a center median on Church Street, planting the trees in the center of the road. That option would cost between $64,000 and $96,000.
Tumlin said he liked the idea of a center median planted with trees, but others, such as Councilman Jim King, opposed it, saying it would confuse tourists into thinking Church Street was a two-way road.
“Basically it comes down to how much impact you want from the trees,” Conn said. “If you want to have a more or less full tree canopy along that section, then you would have to go with option three. But that has some impact on parking, whereas option two does not impact parking, but it does give you trees and some landscape benefits.”
Tumlin said the next step is to schedule a meeting in the next few weeks to get opinions from businessowners.
Councilman Andy Morris said he’s already heard an objection from Tom Browning, chairman of the Downtown Marietta Development Authority, who told him he doesn’t want to have to worry about tree leaves falling on the roofs of his buildings.