|Darrell Turner, owner of Turner Tree and Landscape|
BRADENTON – Turner Tree and Landscape has taken its community service to a new level this year with its lead role in completing Riverwalk, Bradenton’s award-winning riverfront make-over.
Riverwalk is the fifth major “public use” project in which Turner Tree has been involved over the last three years. Owned by philanthropist Darrell Turner, Turner Tree provided 600 trees and 24,000 plants for the project. The company earned an Eagle Award for “excellence in construction” April 19 from the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors.
“Turner Tree found and installed exactly the kinds of trees, foliage and plants we needed for all individual aspects of the Riverwalk, and there are lots of them,” said Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston. “We couldn’t have been happier with their contribution.”
Riverwalk, which officially opened at the end of 2012, is a 1.5-mile stretch of land along Manatee River filled with 18 different recreational, cultural, artistic and natural highlights. They range from a botanical walk, to an amphitheater, to a skatepark, to memorials honoring veterans and the victims of 9-11.
Turner said the project’s unusual shape and its proximity to the riverfront posed three key challenges that Turner Tree was uniquely suited to meet as a company with three decades of experience, including numerous other public use projects:
Tight quarters and the involvement of dozens of other subcontractors required exceptionally careful planning and coordination. Turner said this challenge was amplified by the fact that subcontractors could only enter the site from one side, the one opposite the river.
The outdoor Mosaic Amphitheatre required Turner Tree to find and plant 38 sycamore trees that were an average 40 feet tall. The trees needed to be large enough to provide substantial shade for the amphitheater’s four-tiered natural seating area. “We went all over the state trying to collect those trees,” Turner said.
The need to minimize storm-water run-off compelled Turner Tree to use “laser tubing,” an advanced form of drip irrigation that steers water directly to each individual plant. “In addition to minimizing run-off, you save water, and you get 15 percent extra growth out of the plants,” Turner said.
While landscaping Riverwalk, Turner Tree was simultaneously working on landscaping at the renovated McKechnie Field in downtown Bradenton. Other area public use projects it has landscaped since 2010 include G.T. Bray Park, Bunker Hill Park in Duette, and Bennett Park along Interstate 75.
Riverwalk is a $6.2 million, publicly-funded project that was recently named the top cultural, sports and recreation project in the Tampa Bay Region by the 40-jurisdiction Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.
About Turner Tree and Landscape
Turner Tree and Landscape is a full-service, bonded landscape contractor in business since 1983. Owner Darrell Turner is a prolific community service volunteer whose board memberships include the Bradenton Area Economic Development Council, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, Keep Manatee Beautiful, Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, Manatee Glens, Police Athletic League, Suncoast Communities Blood Bank, and United Way.
Turner Tree’s headquarters are located at 2504 64th St. Ct. E. in Bradenton; its website is www.turnertree-landscape.com.