It’s the top question Snoqualmie Y front desk employees get these days: “When is the Y going to mow the lawn and take the fences down?” If you haven’t seen the lawn, well, it is indeed very long. In fact, inter-mixed wildflowers are also blooming a pretty bluish/purple shade. The big point of contention with some neighbors seems to revolve around the fact that homes on Snoqualmie Ridge adhere to landscaping covenants. Some residents feel the Y should have to maintain its lawn to the same requirements/standards as homeowners.
According to Mayor Larson, the situation just isn’t that simple. The City of Snoqualmie is responsible for the maintenance of the landscaping around the YMCA. There are valid reasons why the landscaping has languished this spring. Mayor Matt explains:
“Even before construction, the hillside in front of the YMCA was prone to pour drainage. It was assumed that the drainage issues would improve once the soils were amended and the project was completed. Unfortunately, that did not occur. The drainage is as bad as ever. In fact, rain run-off has washed away some grass seed leaving many bare spots.
Due to the timing of the Y’s construction, grass seeding took place during the dead of winter. The city felt this was preferable to leaving the site bare until spring. Consequently, it has/will take time for the new lawn to re-establish itself. The ground is still saturated with water. Any attempt to use, mow or maintenance prior to dryer conditions will create a muddy mess. That is why the fence still remains.
Once the weather warms and the saturated soil dries, the city will install a drainage pipe parallel to the sidewalk on Ridge Street – along the entire length of the YMCA site. That area will then be re-seeded along with run-off bare patches. The fences can be removed once all this work is complete.”
The type of energy-efficient grass seed used for the YMCA landscaping is worth a great deal of money. It is called Eco-Turf and its long-term benefits are less mowing and irrigation. The seeds are a mixture of grass and wildflowers and will grow much longer than traditional turf. It is a different blend than typical athletic fields and other landscaped areas use.
The Snoqualmie Y received an $800,000 State grant that helped expand the facility by adding the much-needed teen center. That grant required that the new YMCA be built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards, which requires a minimum number of LEED building and design credits. The Eco-Turf grass seed received much-needed LEED credits and helped the new facility earn its LEED certification.
So in a nutshell, once that soggy wet, saturated hillside and site finally dry out, a drainage pipe will go in; bare spots created by rain run-off will be re-seeded; the fences will come down; and city maintenance crews will start mowing the Y’s grass/wildflowers. For those who love the purplish flowers, they were mixed in with the Eco-Turf and are there to stay!