Picnic goers and sunbathers who like to spread out across the lawns surrounding Echo Park Lake might find it harder than usual to find an open spot this Labor Day weekend after large swaths of grass have been fenced off as the workers prepare to reseed the damaged lawns.
Large sections of the lawns had begun to yellow and die off within a few weeks after the lake and surrounding park reopened in late July after a two-year-long clean up. Earlier this month, the contractor in charge of the clean up began modifying the irrigation system, applying fertilizer throughout the park and aerating the compacted soil to revive the lawns. But, apparently, that was not enough. Now large patches of grass on the east and north sides of the lake will have to be removed and reseeded.
Employees began to install orange, plastic netting around the damaged lawn areas this week in preparation for the reseeding, which will begin after Labor Day, according a Recreation and Parks Department employee familiar with the project. After the lawns have been aerated and reseeded, the lawns will be off limits for at least 10 days to two weeks, perhaps even longer in some cases.
“It’s important that [park visitors] don’t trample over the new seed,” said the employee, who wanted to remain anonymous.
While some city officials have blamed a faulty irrigation system for much of the problems, the throngs of people who have descended on the park since it reopened have also taken a toll on some of most popular sections of the lawn, especially those spots near the playground and a section where informal soccer matches and outdoor yoga classes are held. The reseeding will include a hardier mix of grasses intended to hold up better under all the foot traffic, said the city employee.
“We have had much more traffic than expected,” he said. “It’s Okay to be laying down on it but not abusing it.”