Less grass, more landscape planned at some city parks

Efforts at conserving water at city parks date back to 2015. But they became more urgent after the state initiated stricter conservation efforts.
Much of the grass at Baristo Park would be removed under initial plans recently reviewed by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission.

While elected officials have yet to formally discuss assisting homeowners with turf conversions aimed at conserving water, the appointed members of one commission are stepping up to assure the city is doing its part.

Driving the news: At a meeting last week, the Palm Springs Parks and Recreation Commission conducted an initial review of plans to convert much of the ornamental lawn areas at city parks to more drought tolerant landscaping.

  • Efforts at conserving water at city parks date back to 2015, commissioners were told. But they became more urgent after the state initiated stricter conservation efforts in May.

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Details: During a Sept. 26 meeting, a representative from Conserve LandCare showed initial proposals for converting two parks — Baristo and Frances Stevens. Gone was much of the lawn, and in its place was decomposed granite (DG), boulders, and drought-tolerant plants and trees.

  • Approval of the final designs and start of the conversion work is likely months away. Parks commissioners plan to form a subcommittee to work with the company before passing final proposals to the City Council for approval. That approval will likely happen in January.
  • “I think is a very do-able, capable project we can get done,” remarked parks and Recreation Commission Chair Jerry Alcorn.

State of play: We reported in August that Palm Springs was contemplating joining other Coachella Valley cities  — including Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert  — that recently voted to match turf conversion rebates offered by area water service providers. To date, however, there is no formal proposal.

  • Make sure to turn here to learn more about the Desert Water Agency rebate program, and go here for a helpful guide from the Palm Springs Department of Planning Services that addresses how to convert lawns to water efficient  landscape.

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