Official end of Capitol Hill’s summer: Cal Anderson grass repair work underway

Need another sign that summer has passed? A major chunk of Cal Anderson Park is now fenced off as a project to fix the green space’s troubled turf has begun.

The $250,000 project will repair the conditions in a 3/4-acre area of Cal Anderson where Parks department officials say the grass has struggled since the summer the park was completed in 2005.


CHS was told in May that Parks has been complaining about the screw-up for years. Officials blame the soil Seattle Public Utilities chose in the construction of the park on the lid atop the now buried Lincoln Reservoir and say it has poor drainage. The situation with the soil conditions is so poor that  a form of rush — a plant normally found in marshy wetlands — grows in tufty patches you see throughout the park.

The plan is for a 3/4-acre swath of the northeast section of the park — and a portion of 11th ave parking to be used for construction vehicles and stagin — to be fenced off once the project begins. The contractor will then carefully remove three to five inches of topsoil while not damaging the sensitive reservoir lid. New drainage trenches will be created and a new layer of sand-based top soil and soil conditioner will be layered over it all. Next, new grass will be planted before colder weather sets in and, if everything goes as planned, later in fall the fences will be adjusted and the park pathways reopened. The fences will be removed completely in spring if the grass overhaul is deemed a success and no further rehab is necessary.

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