USM rebuilding damaged landscape along Hardy Street - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

USM rebuilding damaged landscape along Hardy Street

We are approaching nearly two months since the February tornado, and the rebuilding process is only just beginning for some.

For those traveling down Hardy Street, the barren Southern Miss landscape stands as a stark reminder. But the university says this is all about to change.

Around 80 trees across campus were destroyed that day. Wednesday, Southern Miss took the first step towards revitalizing this hard hit portion of campus.

"Today we have a company from Florida, The Magnolia Company, they are here," said Chris Crenshaw, Director of the USM Physical Plant. "They specialize in the delivery and planning of what we would call a Keystone tree, or a large live oaks. They have been specifically prepared for transplanting."

With what they have called a blank canvas, Southern Miss looks to paint a new picture along Hardy Street, and one that compliments the university.

"One of the major goals is for people who travel Hardy Street to see the beauty of our historic front of campus in terms of the historic buildings. So we want to keep those sight lines open," explained Crenshaw.

While insurance monies paid for many of the repairs on campus, this project could well exceed the payout.

"Our landscape limit on insurance is $250,000, and we have had much more damage than that in terms of landscape. So, I do expect it to cost more," said Crenshaw

Today was a preliminary move for the university, working out the logistical matters towards landscaping the area. As the process continues, they hope to gather input from the community.

"We are finalizing our landscape plan and we are going to open that up to the public on our website and we are going to offer the community to opportunity to provide us some reviews and feedback on the landscape plan," said Crenshaw.

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