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Beach Greening Project Gets Underway:

With an anticipated spring opening, construction is slated to begin on the City of Santa Monica’s Beach Greening Project between October 22 and October 29.

The goal of the project is to take an underutilized parking lot and convert a small section of it to natural turf. The area is located at the southern section of the 2030 Ocean Avenue beach parking lot, just north of the playground at the terminus of Ocean Park Boulevard, between Fraser and Wadsworth Avenues.

According to City documents, the turf “will be built to allow automobile parking on it during peak periods,” such as holidays and summer weekends, “but the rest of the year both the turf portion and part of the asphalt area will be closed to autos and available for recreational use.” This lot was chosen because a five-year parking study done between 2002 and 2006 showed this lot was only needed for parking four days of the year. The concept is similar to how natural turf is used at the Rose Bowl.

In an interview with the Mirror, Brett Horner, a Senior Analyst with the City’s Department of Community and Cultural Services, explained, “Construction for the project will take about 90 days, and another 90 days will be needed for the turf to establish itself.” Therefore, a chain-link fence will enclose the project area for six months. After completion, 83 asphalt vehicle spaces will have been converted to 0.6-acres of turf which can be used for a variety of activities including picnics, Frisbee, kite flying, and informal ball playing. Both the turf and the asphalt will be permeable in order to allow runoff to infiltrate, thus allowing the soil to filter out pollutants before stormwater flows into Santa Monica Bay.

The State Water Resources Control Board gave a $698,830 grant to the City to help pay for the project, and the rest of the funding will come from the City’s stormwater fees collected during Fiscal Year 2006-07. The construction cost is $535,552 and the soft costs of design, engineering, soil testing, surveying, turf expertise, and landscape plans are about $165,000. The City will be contributing about $77,000 for construction management, project monitoring and testing, and educational outreach. The grant was given on the condition that the City set up stations to monitor the quality of the stormwater flowing into Santa Monica Bay.

Project construction manager Eric Bailey told the Mirror the project will include two stations, one to collect stormwater coming in and the other to collect “stormwater after going through the turf and asphalt.” The City will collect stormwater from the stations to monitor water quality.

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