- Associated Press - Saturday, January 31, 2015

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) - Toomer’s Corner will be getting some love this Valentine’s Day, as it will once again be home to a pair of large live oaks.

The corner has been void of foliage since its former trees were removed in April 2013 after being poisoned following the 2010 Iron Bowl.

“Our goal all along was to restore the corner with large trees at the earliest opportunity,” said Dan King, assistant vice president for Facilities Management, in a previous press release. “Last summer we completed the hardscape to improve aesthetics and the pedestrian experience. The only thing missing was the trees. We think this plan honors the tradition of the historic original oaks.”

The Auburn City Council recently approved resolutions to temporarily closing city streets for the planting of the new oak trees at Toomer’s Corner on Feb. 14 and on April 18 for an Auburn Oaks celebration event to be held after the Auburn University A-Day football game.

The planting on Feb. 14 is set to begin at 7 a.m. and is estimated to take seven hours to complete. Celebratory rolling of the trees, both of which are approximately 30 feet tall and have approximately a 25-foot spread, will not be allowed for at least a year while they get established.

The council also approved an agreement with Inline Electric Supply Company, Inc., to purchase two mast arm traffic signal poles for $34,168.28 for the Toomer’s Corner Project. The two poles will replace the four poles currently at the intersection.

According to Auburn city engineer Jeff Ramsey, the traffic signal poles are similar to the decorative black poles located at the intersections of Shug Jordan Parkway and South College Street and Bent Creek Road and Glenn Avenue.

“I think it’ll be a nice improvement,” Ramsey said. “It’ll open up the university side of Toomer’s and the Toomer’s Drugs side. It kind of opens that up and gives you a better view of those corners.”

After ordering the poles, it will take the city three to four months to receive them, Ramsey added.

In addition to the new traffic signal poles, other aesthetic improvements that are planned for the intersection this year include removing existing black fencing on the corners in front of Toomer’s Drugs and Bank Vault and adding brick inlaid sidewalks and brick seat walls on all three of the city’s corners of the intersection to match what the university already has in place on its corner.

Raised brick crosswalks will also be added on all four sides of the intersection and will be similar to the ones that connect the university to the other side of Magnolia Avenue.

The tiger paw in the middle of the intersection, which is currently repainted every year by the Auburn University Student Government Association, will be replaced with a permanent brick inlaid tiger paw that is level with the sidewalks. New street trees will also be planted.

“The landscaping downtown’s a little bit tired, and it needs to be replaced,” Ramsey said. “Some of that stuff is dated, and it kind of needs a facelift.”

Ramsey said the goal is to have the Toomer’s Corner intersection project completed before next football season.

“I think you’ll see that it’ll be more pedestrian friendly when we get through with it, and that’s kind of what we’re striving for,” Ramsey said.

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Information from: Opelika-Auburn News, https://www.oanow.com/

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