City’s fake grass idea wilts |

City’s fake grass idea wilts

Janet Urquhart

The artificial turf idea is apparently dead, at least as far as Aspen’s downtown parks are concerned.City parks officials have concluded plastic grass just won’t cut it at either Wagner or Rio Grande park, according to Jeff Woods, the city’s parks director.The durable surface received considerable debate last year, as the City Council mulled ways to increase the number of special events taking place at its downtown parks without ruining the natural grass and leaving a park unusable. The problem, Woods said, is many of those events require tents and staking them up in artificial turf isn’t feasible.”The possibility of using it any place where you pound in tent stakes, it just didn’t work,” he said.Concrete footings could be set beneath an artificial surface to accommodate tent stakes, assuming every event used the same tent, in the same spot. That’s not the case in Aspen, Woods noted.Artificial turf still has merit as a surface at an athletic field somewhere, though there are no formal plans at present to build a new field or resurface an existing one, Woods said. The plastic grass would accommodate heavy recreational use, relieving other, natural-grass fields. It would be in great playing shape in the spring and fall, when natural grass often is not, he said.”It works well for what it was originally designed for, which is an athletic surface,” he said.Meanwhile, the parks department is not yet sure how well the Wagner Park grass survived two nights of concerts during this year’s Winter X Games. There were sections near the concert stage where a thick layer of ice formed, according to parks officials. “We’ll find out in a couple of months,” said Tom Rubel, parks operations superintendent.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is

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