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The Impact of SAGE Roadway Beautification

Apr 10, 2012   //   by admin   //   Uncategorized  //  No Comments

A trip through Lynchburg, Virginia, site of the initial SAGE installment, reveals just how beautiful and successful the project can be. At the time, the project was entitled LEAF, or the Lynchburg Expressway Appearance Fund, and was strictly focused on the Lynchburg Expressway corridor. The project’s founder, Proctor Harvey and his landscape architecture firm HDLA, received support from the community to develop the project in and around Lynchburg as a roadway beautification effort, that wasn’t going to cost taxpayers anything. The idea was simple: entice private business to “buy in” to unique individual gardens along the expressway, in exchange for advertising in the form of carved wooden signs announcing the garden’s sponsor. The proceeds from businesses will go toward the materials and landscaping of the garden, as well as all maintenance and upkeep. LEAF was an overnight success.

The response from businesses was so significant, that HDLA literally could not accommodate enough gardens along the expressway to meet the enormous demand. Businesses would scramble to outbid each other in their attempt to secure the coveted sponsorship opportunity. The project soon overflowed to include literally all of Lynchburg, with businesses still on the waiting list for a garden.

The response was immediate and overwhelming. The community of Lynchburg had acquired a massive undertaking of roadway enhancement and beautification along their expressways and highways; aesthetically improving dramatically the view in and around the city for visitors and residents alike. It soon became clear that a project of this magnitude and success should be offered on a larger scale to other municipalities outside of Lynchburg.

Proctor Harvey worked closely with the Virginia State Legislature to draft and pass a bill that would open up the SAGE program to all communities across Virginia, rewriting volumes of code and law to accommodate the gardens around roadways across the state. The program was adopted into law in 2005, and several communities across Virginia have adopted the program for their roadways since.

LEAF and SAGE has earned several prestigious awards nationally and internationally, including: Keep America Beautiful; Garden Club of Virginia; Virginia Region 2000 Business Award; International Society of Arboriculture Gold Leaf Award; and the National Arbor Day Foundation’s Lady Bird Johnson Award.

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