Aspen’s popular Wagner Park downtown gets a beating | AspenTimes.com

Aspen’s popular Wagner Park downtown gets a beating

A portion of Wagner Park in downtown Aspen is closed to the public so the sod that was laid down this past summer has time to germinate without anyone walking on it.

Wagner Park, the city's marquee open space, is partly closed to the public so the sod that was laid down this past summer can bounce back from the wear and tear of recent activities.

Tarps have been laid down on the north side of the park to allow seeds to germinate during cold temperatures, explained city parks operations manager Matt Kuhn.

"The higher the temperature, the better the germination," he said, adding that it's more about the length of time that the ground remains warm. "(The tarps) are trapping in the heat longer."

Kuhn surveyed the grass Thursday and said some progress has been made, but the seed needs more time.

That section of the park was planned to be closed between 10 and 14 days. It's been closed since Sept. 21.

Kuhn said he isn't sure when it will reopen.

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"We are going to play it by ear," he said.

Rugby and volleyball tournaments in August and earlier this month, along with dry and hot conditions, accelerated the field's deterioration.

"We took a lot of beatings with Ruggerfest and Motherlode," Kuhn said. "We lost a lot of grass."

Grass cost $93,000 to install in June after the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. The three-day event in the park attracted thousands of people and damaged the sod enough that it needed to be replaced.

The event's organizers put $40,000 toward the new grass; the city paid the rest. The park was closed for more than two weeks.

The north side of the park was chosen for germination now because that is where most of the activity is in the summer, specifically the entrance to the Food & Wine Classic.

"That is where we need to shine," Kuhn said. "We hope to have a jump-start for the spring."

csackariason@aspentimes.com

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