Fake grass at Wagner? Where? | AspenTimes.com

Fake grass at Wagner? Where?

Janet Urquhart

The prospect of artificial turf at a downtown Aspen park may grow on people.At the very least, the city’s test sample of fake grass at Wagner Park doesn’t seem to be upsetting passers-by. In fact, most people don’t notice it’s there.A small swath of the turf was recently installed on the edge of the park, directly across the mall from McDonald’s, to give Aspenites a feel for the proposal to replace real grass – possibly at Wagner or Rio Grande Park – with the fake stuff.City parks officials believe artificial turf could accommodate continual, year-round use, while natural turf tends to suffer irreparable harm with the constant wear and tear that city parks endure. Passers-by who strolled across the turf yesterday asked the same questions that City Council members have pondered: What happens if a dog poops on the fake grass? What if kids eat the small rubber pellets at the base of the plastic blades?Most who were quizzed by The Aspen Times, however, were unfazed by the notion of artificial turf covering Wagner, which has been roped off and closed for weeks to prepare for this weekend’s Food & Wine Magazine Classic.One woman, who asked not to be identified, said she’d support fake grass if it kept the park open.”I think they should do it. I think it’s a great idea,” said another.”Is the grass not real?” asked Aspen resident Christian Martinez, scanning the edge of the park. “I personally think it’s a great idea,” he concluded after strolling across it.Jan Gidley, a Basalt resident who works in Aspen, couldn’t distinguish the fake turf from the real thing as she perched on a mall bench near the park.”I wouldn’t faint one way or the other,” she said after giving it a closer look. “It doesn’t bother me.”Jesse Ciccone of Basalt, who works at the nearby Chocolate Factory, couldn’t pick out the artificial turf until he was practically standing on top of it.”It’s cool,” he concluded.Jay Coarsey of Aspen lauded the potential for water conservation that comes with artificial turf. His dog, Lucy, was nonchalant about the plastic surface, barely giving it a sniff. She made no deposits there.”It wouldn’t bother me a bit,” Coarsey said. “They wouldn’t have to close the park down before Food and Wine.”Oklahoma City residents Robert and Nikki Sells were split on the issue.”It wouldn’t bother me at all,” Nikki said, but her husband took a different stance.”I’d be offended,” he said. “Grass has one texture and this has another. You know, barefoot in the park – you’re not going to want to do that on plastic grass.”Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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