Dirt and water from planters damage Ashland City Hall

Repairs are ongoing at Ashland City Hall downtown after dirt and water from outdoor planter boxes installed years ago damaged a wall.

The planters, which have been in place since at least the 1980s, were improperly installed against an exterior wall of the building, which faces the downtown Plaza on East Main Street.

Workers noticed moisture from the boxes had affected the wall when they were working in the planters, said Ashland Public Works Superintendent Mike Morrison Jr.

The planter boxes were removed in mid-July so that repair work on the wall could begin and a window could be replaced. The sidewalk in front of City Hall will also be repaired, city officials said.

New free-standing planters ordered from Wisconsin are expected to arrive at the end of next week, Morrison said.

Concrete repair work will begin in the middle of September, he said.

City officials don't have an estimate yet of what the entire repair bill will be, he said.

Estimates had been as high as $50,000, but Morrison said that the actual amount likely will be lower.

Rhododendrons that were in the planters were carefully removed and are housed in a nursery in upper Lithia Park, where they are doing well, said Ashland Parks and Recreation Department Central Division Manager Jeff McFarland.

Parks Horticulturist Anne Thayer was not immediately available to provide details on whether the large rhododendrons will be replanted in the new City Hall planters, or whether they will be moved to another location, with new plants taking their place in the planters.

Staff reporter Vickie Aldous can be reached at 541-479-8199 or vlaldous@yahoo.com.

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