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City inviting bids for landscaping project at Civic Center; 20 percent of grass to be removed

The city is inviting bids from contractors on a landscaping project that will take place at the Civic Center. The proposed project will remove 20 percent of the grass around the surrounding buildings, which include City Hall and the Alhambra Civic Library. The bids are for "Phase I" of the project, which focuses on the area directly outside City Hall. 
Funding for the project will be covered by a grant from the San Gabriel Municipal Water District. Sketches of the proposed landscaping designs are on display in the lobby at City Hall. 
"The purpose of our project is to reduce our water footprint," said Program Coordinator Paolo Kespradit at Monday's council meeting. 
In response to the ongoing drought crisis, the state has told Alhambra to reduce its water usage by 24 percent. The city enacted a new water ordinance on June 22 that allows lawn watering only from 8am to 6pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Mayor Luis Ayala stressed that water conservation is a city-wide effort "that includes City Hall. That includes residents. That includes all of us."
Some residents at Monday's meeting spoke in opposition to the project. 
Resident Sonya Mackintosh said that the project would harm the area's aesthetic value. "There are people walking by with kids and dogs; they will want to see green grass."
Lola Armendariz said it would be a mistake to remove grass from the Civic Center, since the lawns may act as a combatant to pollutants. "You have a lot of pollution on First Street because of the traffic" said Armendariz, referring to the area in front of the Civic Center. "Grass produces oxygen. And your lawns and turf are one of your highest producers of oxygen."
The city will be accepting bids until 10:30am on August 27.  Phase I of the project may start as soon as Fall of 2015. 

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