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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/FLIP PUTTHOFF Bare dirt is seen Saturday April 14 2019 along a walkway at the downtown Bentonville square. The square will close this week so a crew can install sod.

BENTONVILLE -- The grass on the downtown square will be replaced starting today.

The sod work will continue through Friday, according to a city news release. David Wright, parks director, said the brick portions on the square would be open.

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To learn more about Bentonville Parks and Recreation, visit www.playbentonville.com or call (479) 464-7275.

"It just won't have that sense of place because it will be a work zone," Wright said.

A decorative chain will be placed around the square to let the grass settle, Wright said. Signs asking people to stay off the freshly sodded grass also will be up.

Brick pathways break up the grass plots, and mature trees provide shade on the square. A fountain sits at the center.

The fescue grass needs to be replaced almost every spring because of heavy foot traffic, Wright said. The square is one of the most visited sites in the city. The initial First Friday of the season on April 5 drew hundreds of people to the square. Many stood, walked or plopped down lawn chairs on the grass.

"The square is the heart of Bentonville, and we need to keep it looking good," said Crant Osborne, parks operations manager.

The project will cost $6,647, Osborne said. That cost includes the sod and labor. Work is scheduled to be from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. this week. Some parking spaces may be affected, according to the release.

"Our square is loved to death by our citizens," Wright said. "We are going to get a return [on the sod work]. That's a safe investment."

Alisha Beeman of Bentonville was at the square Thursday with her father, Ken Shirley, who was visiting from North Carolina.

Beeman said she and her husband, Karl, go to First Friday and the Saturday Farmers' Market. She said she also likes to see the area decorated with Christmas lights during the holiday season. She said she was happy the city was doing the maintenance because the square is important to the city.

Most of the city's sod work is done at baseball and softball fields. Three are being worked on at Phillips Park, Osborne said. The soccer fields at Memorial Park almost always need grass upkeep, especially in front of the goals, Osborne said.

"Turf maintenance is as critical as mowing services," Wright said. "It's something you have to do."

Courtney Heimlich, owner of Specialized Soccer Academy, worked with a group of players Thursday at Memorial Park.

She said the fields could use improvement overall, but she agreed the grass in the goal areas is beat down by use no matter if it's youth soccer or the pro leagues.

"You can tell someone has been there," she said.

The Rogers Parks and Recreation Department keeps busy this time of the year with sod projects, said Jim White, parks director.

Most of the work is done at various ballfields, as part of landscaping and areas where erosion can happen like along creek banks and at the Railyard, a city bike park, White said.

Rogers budgets each year for one major resodding project, White said. The city plans to spend about $15,000 to resod a soccer area at Forester Park at 315 W. Olive St. Work should start in the next 30 to 45 days, White said. The city buys Bermuda grass sod because it stands up to foot traffic and has a good life span, White said.

"We use quite a bit of sod," White said. "You're constantly having to replace it."

NW News on 04/15/2019

Print Headline: Downtown square to get sod replacement

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