Friday, April 18, 2014

McEuen Park getting greener

Hundreds of trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and ground covers (the lowest growing layer of vegetation below shrubs) continue to be trucked into McEuen Park as landscapers plant the greenery at a feverish pace.
“We have significantly increased the number of trees in the downtown with this project,” said landscape architect Dell Hatch of Welch Comer Engineers. “Obviously, McEuen Park is going to have a much more lush appearance than previously at McEuen Field.”
Upon completion, the park will be home to 202 trees, 2,350 shrubs, 1,922 ornamental grasses, and 366 ground covers, Hatch said.
Landscape architects worked closely with the city’s parks department on the selection of vegetation to ensure optimum survivability and minimal maintenance, Hatch said.
Additionally, bark blowers have been spreading large volumes of the woodchips around the plants. Beyond the aesthetic bonus of bark, the material acts as a blanket to retain moisture for the plants. “That’s a real advantage,” he said.
Earthmovers are also busy on the west end of the park, grading trails that will soon be paved and altering topography as outlined in the landscape design.
And by taking the parking lot out of the middle of the park and moving it northward and putting about half the parking below Front Avenue, the park gained nearly 3 acres of green space, Hatch said.
With the exception of the east end, the park has been in a constant state of construction since ground was broken in September 2012. Huge changes are on the horizon.
“Once we seed the west side, the impact of green throughout the park is going to be incredible,” Hatch said.