Turf reduction begins on Indian Hill median project

Phase One of the Indian Hill Boulevard median turf reduction project is well underway, with construction crews working diligently to install new river rock and drought-tolerant landscaping in the medians just south of Base Line Road.

The project is one of several water conservation projects the city has expedited in response to the current drought conditions and regulations passed down from Governor Jerry Brown.

Per the governor’s executive order, the city is no longer able to water turf medians as of May 11, 2015. In response to the mandatory irrigation restrictions, city staff proposed spending $40,000 to remove the turf on the Indian Hill Boulevard median, put down mulch and retrofit the irrigation to ensure sufficient water is being provided to trees in the island. City council rejected that idea on June 9, 2015 with Councilmember Opanyi Nasiali calling it a “stop-gap measure” and instead agreed to move forward with the previously-designed Indian Hill Boulevard Median Turf Reduction Project, noting that the plans for the project had already been completed.

The plans were designed to not only focus on creating an attractive yet climate-appropriate landscape in the approximately 36,000 square feet of planting space in the medians between Foothill Boulevard and Base Line Road, but to also be reflective of Claremont’s character while retaining all of the city’s 50-year-old Sycamore trees already in place.

The Claremont City Council approved the design, plant palette and specifications of the Indian Hill Boulevard Median Turf Reduction Project in January 2015. Council awarded the construction contract to Kasa Construction in June after they came in with the lowest bid at $253,828 to complete the project.

To help offset the cost, the city applied and received approval for a turf-reduction rebate through Metropolitan Water District valued at $63,000.

While the reconstruction of the medians on Indian Hill Boulevard is taking place, the city will continue to water the trees in the medians twice a week. Watering these trees will help to prevent drought stress during the construction phase of the project as the median islands are re-landscaped with drought-tolerant plantings and new drip irrigation.

The Indian Hill Boulevard Median Turf Reduction Project will be completed in two phases. Phase One of the project is anticipated to take 60 working days, with an estimated completion in October 2015.

Phase Two, consisting of the median areas located on Indian Hill Boulevard between Arrow Highway and the 10 freeway, is anticipated to begin in Winter 2015.

The end result is expected to have a variety of benefits including reducing water consumption by 50 percent, lowering maintenance costs and the need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers and reducing nuisance water on the roadways.

If not for the urgency of the water conservation mandates, projects such as the Indian Hill Boulevard Turf Reduction Project would have been added to the city’s large list of capital improvement projects and workloads.

—Angela Bailey

news@claremont-courier.com

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