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Re: "A More Complex Skatepark" by Aaron Spohn, president, Spohn Ranch, Inc., (Oct. issue)

n your article you mentioned that a contractor responded to the construction needs of the skatepark design by placing concrete instead of “blowing shotcrete,” and that this allowed very smooth finishing that skaters praise.

The "blowing" or shooting of shotcrete is simply an application method to apply concrete to a surface. Pouring or placing concrete is simply an alternate method of applying concrete to the intended surface. The actually finishing operation (I assume hardtroweling) is what provides the surface texture of the final installation, of course there may be differences in the concrete mix design vs. a shotcrete mix design. Shotcrete or pneumatically applied concrete mixes are generally stiffer and drier to allow the mix to adhere to unusual contours or slopes.

George Seegebrecht
Senior Evaluation Engineer
CTLGroup, Inc.
Westchester, Ill.

Re: News item "NJ Town Debates Tree Fund" (Oct. issue)

As a former chairman of the Ramsey Shade Tree Commission and former member of the planning board, and chairman of the Alexandria Township Environmental Commission, I would have been appalled and would have vehemently opposed the transfer of funds slated for tree planting to be used for athletic fields. Grass, while green and one step up from a parking lot, does not perform nearly the same environmental function as trees do. Athletic fields are in huge demand and a substantial number of people will support the development of more fields. If the public wants sports fields, then a referendum to approve taxes for their construction is easily passed. It is usually much more difficult to organize and mobilize the constituency for trees until they are gone. Adding injury to insult, trees are often sacrificed to build a sports field.

Robert K. Watrous CLA, principle
Robert K. Watrous Landscape Architecture
Andover, N.J.

Re: news item "Nevada to Tap Utah's Groundwater"

We built a five-acre body of water over this aquifer several years ago. The region is dotted with very small towns that have little resource to fight for their water. Las Vegas going after this water resource is very unsettling from a biological perspective. One wonders if they even have a conservation program in the city…. pipe dream? I agree!

Brad Kerr
Senior Fishery Biologist
Aqua Habitat
Bend, Oregon

Editor's note: Many people believe Vegas hotels hog the local water supply, but they account for just 7% of the area’s total water usage, according to the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA). Jaime Cruz, energy manager with the MGM Mirage Corp., asserts "hotel casinos use only 30% of their water allocation on outdoor use, while 70% is used indoors in rooms and kitchens and that water is reclaimed and used again.” Just the opposite is true of residential Vegas, where about 70% of residential water is used outdoors, washing the car and irrigating the lawns, and only 30% is used indoors. Las Vegas consumes around 190 gallons of water per person per day, according to the Western Resource Advocates group.

SNWA offers property owners $1 per sq. ft. of grass removed and replaced with a water-efficient landscape. The Southern Nevada Home Builders Association and SNWA sponsor the Water Smart Home program, which certifies qualifying new homes and neighborhoods as Water Smart, ensuring that home buyers are purchasing a home that can save as much as 75,000 gallons of water per year. SNWA has partnered with local companies to create the Water Smart Car Wash program and teamed with local retailers to provide coupons toward the purchase of a removable or permanent pool cover.

Some environmentalists predict the Vegas water supply could run dry within the next 50 years.

Re: News item "Design Principles at Work"

This is a fairly well established principle in street and road design. It is true that trees close to the road narrow the visual perspective and tend to make drivers more cautious and thus slows them down. However, it is necessary that there be sufficient numbers of trees to create this effect. As you suggest from the Southern Calif. experience, a single tree or light post is likely to get hit. Elizabeth Fischer, ASLA, Landscape Architect with the Federal Highways Administration (is a good contact) for more information.

Kent Watson, principle
Kent Watson & Associates
Missoula, Montana

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June 16, 2019, 10:37 pm PDT

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