By Nathan Ham
Blowing Rock Memorial Park has come a long way since 12 trees in the park were removed in February.
Trees have been planted and now fresh new layers of sod were planted last week and successfully survived the downpours of rain that hit Blowing Rock and the surrounding High Country.
“The park has many new improvements, some obvious and some not,” said Ed Evans, Blowing Rock town manager. “We have new trees, we have water for use in the park, we have electricity in the park with more to come. We have completed working up the grounds and have put new sod, just in time for the rains, which so far have been a great help as we have not had to water the grounds at all.”
In addition to the groundwork being complete, a new sidewalk has been constructed that connects the town hall side of the park to existing sidewalks that lead to the restrooms nearby.
Appalachian New River Sod, a local business based out of Ashe County, put the new grass down in the park early last week.
“I started my own business in 2003 after working at Turf Mountain Sod in Hendersonville on the sod farm for a year and then working at Diamond Creek Golf in Banner Elk for two years during its construction where we installed sod on the whole golf course,” said business owner Chad Phipps. “I had done previous work for the town of Blowing Rock as well as the head of landscaping, Chris Pate, and they liked the quality of my work so they wanted me to give them an estimate.”
The work started on Monday morning and finished up on Tuesday.
“We prepped the soil by tilling in soil amendments to a depth of six inches and then finished grading the site, that took us one long day on Monday. The next day, two tractor trailer loads of sod were delivered at 9 a.m., we finished the job at 8:30 that evening,” Phipps said. “We installed the sod using a tracked machine which rolls out big rolls that are 21 inches wide and 77 feet long.”
While Appalachian New River Sod does do a lot of work with large-scale sod installation projects and golf course maintenance, they also offer hydroseeding services for residential and commercial properties.
Along with the park enhancements, other areas around town hall have also seen some good improvements. The picnic shelter behind town hall has a new and improved look to it with new landscaping and brick pavers.
At the park, there will also be a new stonewall built near where the benches are at the front of the park.
“That wall will be rock and complimentary to the park and other rock used in the park. We don’t know the completion date on that yet, but we hope before the end of summer,” Evans said.
Evans said that the inside parts of the wall will be used as planters for flowers.
There are still some landscaping odds and ends to be taken care of, as well as potentially a special treat for “man’s best friend.”
“Behind the wall up to the area where the sod is planted, we will be mulching and also mulching around all the trees to protect the trees from people, mowers and weed eaters,” said Evans. “We also hope to find a way to install some dog watering stations along the sidewalk side of the wall.”