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New city median to use artificial turf

New city median to use artificial turf

POSTED March 20, 2012 10:28 p.m.

The City of Turlock's going green - and saving green - by turning away from traditional green grass in a new city median.
The stretch of Christofferson Parkway median from Geer Road to Olive Avenue will use artificial turf rather than grass, saving water and lowering maintenance costs. The application will be the first use of artificial turf in a City of Turlock median.
The artificial turf comes as planners sought to retain the region's look, while dealing with new efficiency laws.
"We wanted to maintain the theme all the way up and down Christofferson Parkway, because it's all about trees and turf," said City Engineer Mike Pitcock.
But a new State of California ordinance prevents cities from installing sprinkler heads which abut curbs. That would leave Turlock with no option but to water the median from centrally-mounted sprinklers, which would offer poor water coverage for grass near the edges of the median.
Instead, Turlock opted for artificial turf, with real trees mixed in. The combination will save water, and cut down on the mowing which eats up city landscapers' time. The artificial turf will degrade over time, but Turlock expects to set aside funding which would have been spent on maintenance to replace the turf at that point.
Turlockers should expect to see the artificial turf median in the coming weeks, after development was delayed by recent storms.
"We are actively trying to get the concrete median put into place, but the rain has slowed that down a little bit," Pitcock said.
The City plans to complete the concrete median, level the ground, then install the artificial turf and then plant real trees in the turf.
The intersection of Christofferson Parkway and Fosberg Road will not be closed as a result of the construction, but will be set up for a traffic signal. The City of Turlock expects to apply for funding to install that signal at a later date, where it will provide a safe crossing for students of nearby Dennis Earl Elementary School.
The new median provides another boon, Pitcock said, by serving as a proving ground for private developers considering less water-intensive landscaping. Turlock will be able to point to the Christofferson Parkway median, and new landscaping at the Turlock Transit Hub, as examples of how water-efficient landscaping can remain visually appealing.
"Some of these things can be done," Pitcock said, "and they're still attractive."


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