No plans to modify Esplanade’s oval green


Photo by Rachael Le Goubin.

Anthony Dominic

City and university officials have confirmed there are no plans to further develop the new oval green near Haymaker Parkway, which was part of the $3.2 million Esplanade extension project.

James Bowling, Kent’s superintendent of engineering, said the city will perform necessary maintenance to the green, but “any big changes would come from the university.” The university, not the city, owns the green, as well as the extension between South Lincoln Street and Haymaker Parkway.

Michael Bruder, executive director for Facilities Planning and Design in the Office of the University Architect, said the green will not be modified, as it was always intended to be an “open recreational area.”

The green was dubbed the “Great Lawn” in a master plan uploaded to City Manager Dave Ruller’s blog in 2011. The plan specified the green should “be left flexible for frisbee, sunbathing or study, with an open sloped lawn and provided movable chairs.” It also noted the green would feature a “uniform ring of ornamental trees,” which would “give the space a sense of enclosure and formality.”

Neither Bowling nor Bruder indicated any additional seating or landscaping will be added to the green.

As of this month, university grounds crews are responsible for mowing and collecting trash on the green. Grounds manager Heather White said her staff is waiting to take control of the extension’s landscaping and irrigation system from the city, the latter of which requires training. She said a contracting agreement prevents the university from taking control of any plant materials until a year after installation, meaning grounds crews may not be managing the entire extension until next fall.

However, come winter, White said grounds crews will be shoveling and salting the extension.

“I always tell people I have to be thinking one season ahead,” she said.

Contact Anthony Dominic at [email protected]