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Black plastic blocks keep the island green

Island Asphalt employee Jason Rose displays one of the Geoblocks that were installed this week in a pasture next to Bayview Hall. - Jim Larsen
Island Asphalt employee Jason Rose displays one of the Geoblocks that were installed this week in a pasture next to Bayview Hall.
— image credit: Jim Larsen

No, they didn’t pave the pasture next to Bayview Hall. It just looked like that on Wednesday.

In fact, it’s a demonstration project that might help keep the island green.It didn’t look like that on Wednesday, however. Workers with Island Asphalt turned 30,000 square feet of grassland black, but not by laying down pavement. It was more like a huge display of giant black Legos.

The interlocking plastic rectangles are called Geoblocks, described in Presto Products literature as a “porous pavement system.”

The black look won’t last long. Bayview Hall will again be surrounded by green once the blocks are filled with topsoil and then planted with grass seed.

The result will be a green, pasture-like surface that is sturdy enough to serve as a parking lot for the popular Bayview Farmers Market and for Bayview Hall activities.

The Island Asphalt team of Garth Sandberg, Bob Brandon and Jason Rose installed the blocks quickly, with Brandon and Rose connecting them together on the ground and Sandberg driving screws to keep them in place.

“Just like Legos,” said Brandon.

Rose said the owner of the property, the nonprofit Goosefoot Community Fund, “wanted a grass surface that won’t sink down.”

Geoblocks have been used in a few smaller projects in the area, but nothing so large as the Bayview project, the workers said.

One of Goosefoot’s goals is to demonstrate environmental technology to builders and the public at large. The new Geoblock parking area should show that parking lots don’t have to be ugly. The block project is just a short walk from the Composting Toilet Building.

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