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  • By Lisa Brody

Unsightly hiccups at Barnum closer to ending

Birmingham residents living near Barnum Park will hopefully be appeased as new grass takes root and the area bordered by an unsightly fence is decreased, according to Lauren Wood, director of public services for the city of Birmingham. Wood said the problems began with a regrading project last October 2017. “We were originally redoing all the grassland and open spaces last fall,” she said. “We've found other places” for the users of the soccer, football and baseball fields at the park. The regrading project was originally approved for $21,900 by the Birmingham City Commission in August 2017, for field improvements to be done by Home Field Turf, a landscaping company in Clarkston. The repair and regrading work at Barnum Park began in October. Wood said the issues at the park were not apparent until the spring. “This spring was extremely wet, and we had a lot of heavy rains, warm ups and then cool downs,” she said. “We noticed some ponding water facing Pierce Street in the easterly area.” She said the work had to be redone. “We said 'we should do this right,' so they regraded it again. They added drain tiles so the wanter won't pond and it won't be unusable.” Home Field Turf, in conjunction with the DPW department, added drain tiles, new top soil and grass seed. “Then the seeding had to be irrigated so the grass could grow. We couldn't cut (the grass) for a while – we had to allow it to rest and grow, to allow it to root. That's why the fence is still around it.” She said she has met some neighborhood groups to keep them informed. Despite that, there remains neighborhood concerns of an unsightly mess where there once was a beautiful park. “Barnum Park was fine until they 'fixed it,'” said one resident. Wood said she has asked her park manager to shift the fencing to a more interior area now that the grass is becoming established. “It is done – we're just waiting for the grass to germinate while it's growing,” she said. “We'll shift the fence into the interior because we don't want foot traffic there.” She said the fields will not be playable this fall for soccer or football. As for the original quote from Home Field Turf, she said the regrading was covered, but not the drain tiles. “Home Field does work on a lot of our parks and ballfields,” Wood said. “They're really reputable and do great work. We want to make it a beautiful park for everyone.”

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