By this time next year, DeBenedetti Park will have a fresh field of green grass. Delta Bluegrass Construction, a contractor hired by the city, planted 15 acres of Bermuda grass in preparation for sports fields last week. Tree Lodi has also started its campaign to raise about $20,000 to plant 200 trees at the park.
The city is working to install three multi-sports playing fields in the northwest section of the park. It has already completed a large drainage basin.
The council approved using $2 million park and storm drain impact fees for the project.
The city has also installed the irrigation system for the playing fields and streetlights around the park.
Last week, Delta Bluegrass planted Celebration Bermuda grass through a process called sprigging. Sprigging is where holes are dug in the ground and then a machine inserts the grass stem and roots into the soil, said Steve Dutra, parks superintendent.
The grass requires hot weather and plenty of water, and the optimum growing season is fall, Dutra said. Once the contractors can mow the grass, a 6-month maintenance period will start.
The city installed the grass because it is able to handle people playing on the fields year-round, Dutra said.
The goal is to open the fields in the spring or summer of next year, he said. The city still has to install an entrance into the park and a walkway that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. It will be the first ADA accessible outdoor playing field in Lodi.
In the meantime, Tree Lodi is in the middle of its campaign to raise money and supplies to plant 200 trees. It is sending out envelopes asking people to donate money or gardening supplies, like gloves, fertilizer pellets, first aid kits, wheelbarrows, post pounders or a staple guns.
The nonprofit is also asking for volunteers to help plant the trees. The organization expects to have the volunteer planting day in the spring, said Joyce Harmon, founder of Tree Lodi.
“Everyone who volunteers won’t be expected to use a shovel. ... There will be many small jobs and big jobs for a project this large,” Harmon said.
A tree costs $100, and the price includes money for fertilizer and stakes for the trees. But the organization will take donations of any amount.