Lord knows, Contra Costa County is short on cash like every other public agency but the state of the landscaping at its offices on Arnold Drive in Martinez is disgraceful.
The grass is dead. Weeds abound. Shrubs and trees are dying. When I drove through the parking lot other evening after a county worker called and complained about it, the grounds were downright ghetto. (See pictures below.)
If my yard in Martinez resembled this one, the city would be on my doorstep and rightfully demanding I clean it up.
Public Works Director Julie Bueren says the original private building owner installed way too much lawn and when budget constraints hit the county a few years ago along with water useage standards imposed by the Contra Costa Water District, the county stopped watering the grass.
“When funding allows, the plan is to re-landscape some of these areas with drought resistant plants and landscape materials that will be less costly to maintain,” Bueren wrote to me in an email.
OK, I get the grass part. It uses a lot of water. At the very least, though, the county could put down some mulch. Replacing existing landscaping with drought resistant plants and shrubs over time is a good idea, too.
But to let those valuable trees and large shrubs die in the interim seems like a terrible waste.
As for the weeds, Bueren says abatement is scheduled for next week. Thank goodness. Dry vegetation is a fire hazard and the fire district that protects this area has its own financial problems.