City preps for Wagner Park restoration amid drought restrictions

Jun 6, 2018

Preparation for the Food and Wine Classic is underway at Wagner Park. The event kills much of the turf on the downtown park; the City of Aspen will lay new sod after the festivities wrap up.
Credit Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

The City of Aspen has cut back on irrigation at most parks across town to meet a goal of reducing water consumption by 10 to 15 percent. But Wagner Park, in the city core, is managed pretty differently.


Tents have started to go up in preparation for the Food and Wine Classic, and all that weight, plus heavy foot traffic, is really hard on the grass at Wagner Park.


“Most of that park is essentially killed after that event," said Matt Kuhn, operations director for the Aspen Parks Department.

About 70 percent of the turf dies. Those damaged parts used to be re-seeded, and it took about a month to reopen the park. For past three years, the parks department has ripped out the dead grass and replaced it with fresh sod. That’s under direction from city council.


"So that the park is green and open to the public by the Fourth of July," Kuhn explained.

The old turf is turned into top soil for other parks. With the stage one water restrictions, Wagner will be one of the few in town that is watered daily.

"We have to water the new sod as it gets installed and make sure that it gets established as well," Kuhn said. He added that even with Wagner Park’s special treatment, the parks department will reduce its water consumption by about 15 percent from last year.