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Aspen Parks Department monitors snowpack in Wagner Park

Staff report

Aspen Parks Department officials will be monitoring snowpack in Wagner Park in the coming weeks, gauging the threat of damage to the field’s new sod and weighing a potential closure.

Parks and Open Space Director Tom Rubel said Friday that he hopes Wagner Park will remain open until routine spring closing in early to mid-March, but that is heavily weather-dependent.

“If it gets to a condition where we think it’s causing damage, we’ll have to close it again,” he said.

Following a $1 million resurfacing project, which included installation of a new irrigation ditch and electrical system and the purchase of new event flooring, Wagner Park was closed from July until Dec. 23, when it was determined snowpack was deep enough to protect the new sod. If the surface becomes too compacted, Rubel said the department can break it up with machinery, but it’s his opinion that it will melt before that’s an issue.

“Right now, we’re still looking decent, but yeah, we need some snow,” Rubel said.

About two weeks ago, a youth group held a rugby game on the field. Rubel said that “wasn’t a big deal,” but if multiple rugby teams wanted to hold a multi-game event, it would be an issue.

The final piece of the resurfacing project will be the replacement of 10 to 11 irrigation heads that were manufactured improperly, Rubel said. Each one will require about 1 square foot of digging.

“Nothing too impactful,” he said of the work. “I think it’s a day or two for a crew of four people. Otherwise, the project is complete, ready to go once we dry out.”

Following the spring closure, the Parks Department aims to open the park for good in late April or early May, which would be sooner than expected.

The Parks Department’s next check-in with the Aspen City Council is Feb. 17.


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