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Old Posted Oct 3, 2012, 7:30 PM
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Lawn re-do to give Downtown a boost
Updated: Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 7:37 AM MDT
Published : Friday, 28 Sep 2012, 7:36 AM MDT

Amanda Goodman

The pristinely manicured Pete Domenici Federal Courthouse lawn seems like a distant memory these days as torn up concrete, mounds of dirt and a chain link fence have taken its place.
“There is just quite a mess, I catch the bus here in front of federal court so I was just kind of wondering, okay what’s going on, where’s the money going now and… what’s happening,” said Metro Court Employee Sarae Smiel.
It turns out a lot of other people are wondering the same thing with construction at the court house entrance seemingly coming out of nowhere. “I’ve seen it but I didn’t know what was exactly happening,” said Downtown resident Amanda Jauneka.
News 13 has learned the feds are re-landscaping the lawn to make it more sustainable and cost efficient, taking out the water-hungry grass and xeriscaping at a cost of $2.8 million.
“Initially I was like wow, this is a waste of taxpayer money to do some renovation but then I found out the water conservation that’s involved,” Jauneka said.
According to the company doing the work there, Rios Clementi Hale Studios, changing the landscape will save roughly 230,000 gallons of water a month.
The old landscaping sucked up nearly 300,000 gallons of water a month.
“It’s nice to know we’re able to save money, save water as well as make it look beautiful,” Smiel said.
People who live and work downtown told News 13 between all the court buildings and concrete this area sometimes gets a bad rap.
However, they think once the project is finished it will create a new oasis and may even soften some people’s perceptions of the area.
“It will be more people friendly, sitting outside looking at their books or just having a nice lunch get out of the office, it will create a more positive vibe for down here,” said Jauneka.
At this point it is not clear when the project will be completed.
The contractors are re-using a lot of the concrete for the new look as well as creating a rain garden to collect water so it can be re-used.
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