University of Miami graduates of years past who drive along Ponce de Leon Boulevard may become nostalgic about their college days. The landscaping on the street fronting the school has been restored to what was there more than 40 years ago before declining in appearance.
More than 350 Alexander Palms, 18 to 20 feet tall, were planted recently in the medians on Ponce from Lejeune Road (SW 42nd Avenue) to Red Road (SW 57th Avenue).
“Creating a beautiful boulevard was very important to me,” said Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk Jr. “The university is one of the first places potential students and residents drive by, so making a good first impression is paramount.”
The Ponce de Leon Landscaping Restoration project replaced trees that had either been destroyed by hurricanes, disease, or other causes over the past several decades. The installation restores the clean and elegant look that had visually unified the entire corridor.
“Students and their parents frequently comment about the beauty of the university’s tropical campus,” said Joe Natoli, UM’s senior vice president of Business and Finance. “We are delighted with the city’s efforts to extend that tropical ambiance along Ponce de Leon Boulevard, which serves as the main entry point onto campus for many of our students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
The long, slender palms with gracefully arching leaves were purchased from Manuel Diaz Farms for $106,000. The university paid approximately $59,500 of the total cost. UM also will contribute to the installation of an irrigation system and ground cover in the median. This project is another example of the city’s commitment to enhance the beauty and preserve the character of our neighborhoods.