November 29, 2010
RE: Update on progress of park construction for Festersen (W-55) and Nichols (W-52) parks
I wanted to take a moment to provide you with an update on the two park projects. As expected, the two contractors are neck and neck in meeting their respective completion dates. Both contractors still have some minor work to do, but are essentially complete with the construction phase of the project. Now, it’s a matter of watching the grass grow.
For both sites, the grass type is a Bermuda blend. The Bermuda blend is a stronger variety of grass, standing up to heavy foot traffic better than other types. Long term maintenance on an established Bermuda grass is also very cost effective because of the greater resistance to wear and tear and compatibility with recycled water. Lastly, the adjacent schools already have this type of grass in their fields. For these reasons, it is the best choice for these parks.
No choice comes without some disadvantages. Bermuda is more difficult to establish and goes brown when temperatures get colder. With the Fall weather turning cold and the young turf blades just getting started, you will initially be seeing more weeds than actual grass. As the weather starts to warm up again, the grass will again grow but the consistency in having a nice green carpet of grass may not happen during the first year of growth. These characteristics do not indicate a lack of maintenance or care, it is part of the grow-in process that takes place and the City will be actively managing the grass establishment.
As for other aspects of the construction, there are areas that may seem to drain slowly or have puddling. We are monitoring these areas and will be making adjustments accordingly. In some cases, we have placed straw bales, straw waddles (rolls), silt fences, filter fabric or other materials that impede the drainage patterns and flows. These will remain in place throughout the winter. These are state requirements under the Clean Water Act and cannot be removed until the project is complete. In other cases, it may be a pre-existing condition that we need to find solutions for. We will be working through those solutions during this establishment/grow-in period.
Lastly, and as a reminder, the construction fences will remain up throughout the Fall and Winter. Minor activity will be occurring, but it may seem that no one is on-site. Such activity may be to certifying the play structure to ensure safety, safety inspections for the shade and restroom, irrigation head adjustments, plant care, fertilization, etc. We ask your help in ensuring that we stay outside the fenced areas. The fences are up to ensure your safety. Premature use can also lead to damage to “not yet ready for use’ items. The repairs to the damage will be added costs to the project and in some cases, can delay opening the park if damaged parts have long lead times for delivery.
We do not have a definite opening date as yet, but are targeting March/April 2011timeframes to take the fences down. This will depend on how soon Spring arrives and how the grass holds up through the Winter. Formal park dedications will likely happen in the summer.
Thank you again for your interest and participation in the park projects. We are in the home stretch and are looking forward to opening the parks for your enjoyment.
Tara L. Gee, Sr. Landscape Architect