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Park gets new grass, less water





Water-saving efforts are underway by the city of Hays, as a 5-acre portion of Aubel-Bickle Park recently was converted from cool season to buffalo grass.

"It'll grow fast," said Mike Bachar, city of Hays parks department employee, as he took a brief break from planting the buffalo grass Thursday morning. "It likes the hot weather."

Parks department staff loaded old thatch from the park located at 30th and Sherman in preparation for planting the new seed.

The approximately 5-acre section located on the south side of the park at 30th Street and Sherman Avenue is just one of many projects the city has implemented this summer to save water resources.

The city's turf conversion program helps residents convert from cool season lawns to warm season grass.

A buffalo grass lawn, according to Jeff Boyle, parks director for the city of Hays, typically can use 70 percent to 80 percent less water than a cool-season lawn.

In addition to the lawn conversion program, city staff is planning test plots of drought-resistant landscaping plants in front of city hall and at 21st Street and Pershing Court.

"We're making some good efforts toward conservation," Boyle said.

"We hope to continue that and be better every day."

Looking over the newly planted buffalo grass, Bachar said it seemed odd to see the park in its present state.

"It's been fescue for so long," he said. "But I guess the change is needed.

"Hopefully a lot of people will see this and say, 'We can do this too.' "