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CdM Today: BID takes a pass on artificial grass

December 25, 2010

Nixing plans to add fake grass to Corona del Mar's tree wells, the Business Improvement District's board members now are planning a spring event that could fill 150 neglected tree wells with expert landscaping, according to memos and interviews with BID members.

Most of Corona del Mar's tree wells are "unsightly" and filled with dirt and rocks — but artificial turf is not the answer, according to a draft of a proposal that the Business Improvement District will submit to the City Council.

The artificial turf solution appeared to be gaining momentum earlier this year when the BID board arranged to have samples installed in two tree wells near Goldenrod Avenue. Balboa Island's BID added artificial turf to the island's tree wells in June 2009, but according to the Corona del Mar memo, "This option is considered inconsistent with the aesthetic that is desired in Corona del Mar."

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Instead the group has drafted a plan that would allow business owners that maintain tree wells to continue to do so, while giving $100 per tree well for expert landscapers to take over planting the neglected wells. The group wants to organize an event that will take place in the spring "in which landscape architects and garden designers will donate their design services and install new landscape…," the draft memo states.

"The aesthetic goal and desire is to enhance the village business district by adding a charming garden-like atmosphere," according to a December newsletter from the Corona del Mar BID.

"The beautification plan would include a budget for new plant materials, irrigation improvements, ongoing maintenance and project outreach," the newsletter states.

The budget for the project is $15,000 for the plant allowance, plus $5,000 for advertising, $2,500 for irrigation improvements and $1,500 per month for ongoing maintenance.

Several residents had complained about the proposed artificial turf because of the plastic look, smell and health concerns from the plastic material. Other residents said that the Balboa Island artificial turf now has a foul odor from dogs, adding they were glad that Corona del Mar would not be adding more fake turf.

"I'm so glad we're going for real and natural and not plastic and dangerous," said Corona del Mar resident Tracey Baltera, who had complained to City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner about the artificial turf. "This news just makes my day."

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