One of the largest public turf replacements projects in the state begins construction in Greeley’s Bittersweet Park in January.The work includes irrigation and water conservation improvements, increasing plant diversity and wildlife habitat, and enhancing drought-tolerance and landscape resiliency. This project will convert 21 acres of high-water-use turf grass to low-water native alternatives.
Residents and community members will see construction crews mobilizing equipment in the southern Bittersweet parking lot. The lot will remain open, but construction will limit available space. Officials encourage park visitors to use the west side parking lot. Bittersweet will remain open during construction, but residents can expect construction fencing, work crews, and construction equipment inside the park. Pedestrians may be rerouted and surfaces may be uneven during some phases of project construction. Officials anticipate the project to finish in July 2020.
Bittersweet Park consumed more than 20 million gallons of water for irrigation in 2018; the same amount needed to provide for water for 706 households a year. The park required that much water because of its 30-year-old, inefficient irrigation system. This project replaces the old irrigation system and converts traditional Kentucky Bluegrass with drought-tolerant perennials and a mix of xeric and native turf grasses that use less water.
As a popular destination for walkers and runners, this project will build additional paths in the park and create new opportunities for pedestrians, including better access to the large pond within the park. The project will also build soft, natural trails to provide an alternative to hard concrete paths.
In early 2019, the City of Greeley and the landscape architecture team of Matrix Design group held three community outreach sessions to gather feedback on the project. Within these sessions, residents identified park improvement opportunities and endorsed a progressive approach to water conservation. Part of the process to improve Bittersweet Park included three public meetings held in 2019. You can see the presentations from those meeting below.