Upgrade completed: (From left) Mohd Najib, Mahadi and Ahmad Phesal testing out a turf protection mat after the press conference at Dataran Merdeka.
AFTER a delay of almost three months, the Dataran Merdeka field was finally reopened to the public yesterday after it was closed off for upgrading works in July last year.
“Tiananmen Square (in Beijing) and many other public squares around the world are covered in concrete.
“Dataran Merdeka is one of the few iconic public squares in the world that is covered in grass, which gives it an organic feel, making it even more special.
“I urge tourists and families to come here, especially at night when it is cooler, and enjoy the relaxing setting and the beautifully lit-up historical buildings surrounding the field,” Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib said after announcing the re-opening of the field on Tuesday.
Ahmad Phesal, Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) deputy director-general (project implementation and maintenance) Datuk Mohd Najib Mohd and DBKL deputy planning director Datuk Mahadi Che Ngah sat down on the field as they held the press conference.
“We opted for Bermuda grass on the field instead of cow grass because it is more durable.
“Even if the grass on top looks damaged or dried up, as long we keep watering it, grass will eventually sprout again,” he said.
Bermuda grass grows in sunny areas and produces a very durable, dense, dark green and fine-textured turf.
It is also widely used in golf courses and sports fields.
It was revealed that the delay for the reopening of the field was because they wanted to give the roots time to set in well.
Ahmad Phesal also revealed that DBKL had spent RM4mil for the upgrading works, which included the installation of an automated water sprinkler system and a further RM200,000 annually to a contractor to maintain the field.
The sub-soil drainage system will also be able to handle excessive amounts of water, especially from downpour.
“We have already received numerous requests from several bodies to organise, among others, a night run, an international food festival and police day celebrations at the field,” he said, adding that not all events would be given the green light.
DBKL also procured turf protection mats that will be used to protect the grass when structures such as tents and tables are placed on it.