'Karl Foerster' grasses to be replaced on Grand

Saturday, September 22, 2012
"Karl Foerster" grasses along Grand Avenue are planned to be replaced due to visibility problems. (Photo by Kate Padilla)

Two years ago, when the Park Department landscaped along Grand Avenue, they planted tall "Karl Foerster" grasses on the ends of the boulevards. The grass, often known as the "feather reed" grass, can grow up to four feet tall and features a colored "feather" at its tip.

Two years later, Park Director Delray Bredehoeft approached the Park Board with plans to replace the grass with another plant material.

"We're hearing talk of visibility problems," Bredehoeft said to the board at Tuesday night's meeting. "It's time we look at a different type of plant material over there."

The current grasses will not be discarded; instead, they will be transplanted and utilized throughout the park areas.

Though they haven't determined what plant will go in its place along Grand Avenue, Bredehoeft said they will look for something "that would not naturally grow so tall."

"We'd like to get something in the two-to-three foot height," Bredehoeft said.

Bredehoeft and the park committee will approach the park board with a potential replacement at a forthcoming meeting.

The price for the project will depend on the grasses they choose. Because the Karl Foerster grasses were included in a larger project, Bredehoeft is unsure how much those grasses cost to install.

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  • Anyone who has had to turn off Grand, making left turns, can attest to the fact that that grass was definitely causing visibility problems.

    When they cut the tops off it was a great help, but I find that in certain areas there is still a visibility problem, and not caused by the grass, but by the big wide light poles.

    I'm glad that at least some of the problem is being addressed.

    -- Posted by spencer-gma on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 1:04 AM
  • I'm afraid the entire project will become a visibility issue. The trees will be next to be an issue with either visibility, broken limbs in the road, or the roots ripping up concrete.

    I personally struggle to even see around the light poles in the median. I'm sorry to say that I think this project was overkill.

    -- Posted by Foster Mom on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 8:28 AM
  • Typical for Spencer, do everything twice.

    -- Posted by Iowachick on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 9:17 AM
  • I've assumed it will be another 10 years until they realize the tress were a bad idea too. Those will be a pain to rip out at that point. Trees, in a median, blocking vision as they grow. I've never thought the plan was well thought out, but it does guarantee extra sales for the suppliers.

    -- Posted by a-thought-or-two on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 11:22 AM
  • Why replace something that can be cut down to a reasonable size? This is where conflict of interest comes into account. The landscape contractor holds a seat on the Clay County Board of Supervisors. He is very knowledgeable as a landscaper, and is quite aware of the size of mature plants and trees. Since he was aware of where these plants and trees were going to be planted along Grand, and as a Clay County Board member and civil servant, he should have recommended other plants or trees that would not have impacted visibility to citizens, but then again, that wouldn't benefit his company in the future.

    -- Posted by BelieveNtheUnbelievable on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 12:35 PM
  • wow maybe they should have thought about it before they eveb planted anything on the corners.. another waste of taxpayers money

    -- Posted by moonman on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 3:00 PM
  • I like the lights but the trees are rediculous. We need to go after the guy that put in the non working yr old sprinkler system!

    -- Posted by spencer lover on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 6:32 PM
  • I don't really mind the lights or the grass. How about heading east on West 9th Street at Grand and wanting to make a left hand turn (turn north) on to Grand. To me, that's the biggest visibility problem.....

    -- Posted by Drive Straight on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 10:45 PM
  • My husband has complained from the first day the trees were planted in the medians that they were going to be a problem.

    I've complained about those big light poles. There are certain places that you have to pull out into the oncoming lane to see if a car is coming because you can't see around the poles.

    It never occurred to me that the grass was going to be a problem, too, but after it was cut, it was a big help.

    Yes...the ridiculous sprinkler system is a whole other subject.

    -- Posted by spencer-gma on Sat, Sep 22, 2012, at 11:18 PM
  • Ahh, fine tax money at work.

    -- Posted by clayfarmer on Sun, Sep 23, 2012, at 7:36 AM
  • Wwhen you locate a city that makes no mistakes, let me know.

    -- Posted by A. View Point on Mon, Sep 24, 2012, at 11:08 AM
  • The whole project was an awful idea. Who loads up a median with trees, poles, and tall grass on the busiest road in town?

    The light poles are the worst if you ask me. If you are turning left they block your entire view about a half block down. You really have to inch out and see if anyone is coming.

    Not sure why the light poles are place so close to the intersections rather than towards the middle of the block.

    Why not remove the tall grass and replace with flowers instead of more less tall grass? Anyone without a SUV will still struggle to see through the grass.

    -- Posted by financeman on Mon, Sep 24, 2012, at 1:01 PM
  • Maybe the trees will meet the same fate as the 35+ that died on N. Highway Blvd and Hwy 71 south. Or the plants in the median in front of Menards that have disappeared...

    The trees and ornamental grasses look nice in the parks or along the road but they don't belong on a median where driver's view of oncoming traffic is impaired.

    I suppose there will need to be some accidents or a fatality before these issues are addressed by the city.

    -- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Mon, Sep 24, 2012, at 9:45 PM
  • Children crossing North Grand are nearly impossible to see because of the various plants and light poles in the median.

    If that alone isn't a problem worth considering with the excuse that "every town has made mistakes", there is no hope for improvement. It really does not matter who is to blame. What matters is that the problem is fixed.

    I'm really glad to see this problem being addressed. It's taken so long to hear anyone complain. I've had people think I was silly for complaining!!

    -- Posted by spencer-gma on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 1:40 AM
  • agree on the supervisor being the one who profited and will probably profit again from his inside knowledge and the counties no bid policy on projects like these.it was and is a huge waste of money.perhaps the best solution would have been to widen grand and put some turning lanes in so you don't feel like you are going to get rammed in your front or rear as you are getting on or off grand.not as pretty or beneficial to certain individuals i guess but a lot more useful and a lot safer for the public.

    -- Posted by big12cc on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 11:50 AM
  • Maybe somebody can help me out here. What does a county supervisor and county policy have to do with a city project? Did I miss part of this story somewhere?

    -- Posted by deweyh on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 8:51 PM
  • CITIZEN SAM: I was told today that the sprinkler system wasn't winterized properly so some of the pipes froze and ruptured. Some have been repaired.

    -- Posted by Dennis the Menace on Tue, Sep 25, 2012, at 11:26 PM
  • The initial grand ave renovation was completed by a general contractor from Spencer. All other bids for the overall project are submitted to that general contrator for them to use in their bid that was turned in to the city before the any contract was awarded. So to single out a county supervisor and the business he owns isnt a valid argument. The city did not know what contractors the general contractor was using for their bid. Also, if you look closer into the project, the plan was designed by an architect firm that specifies what material will be used on a project. That includes specs for the sprinkler system, the plant material, concrete specs and more. The overall plan was approved by the Park and Rec Board and submitted to the City council for approval. This being said, I fail to see how someones position with the county influenced any decisions.

    -- Posted by Tigers10 on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 9:26 AM
  • Tigers10 -

    Love it. Good information. Sometimes people want to see corruption in government even where there isn't any.

    -- Posted by Sony on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 11:29 AM
  • Let's not muddy this up with blame and responses to the blame.

    Let's just fix it before people are hurt or killed.

    -- Posted by spencer-gma on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 11:39 AM
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