LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — North Las Vegas officials are balancing growth and water conservation as they plot the future.

Cass Palmer, director of the city’s parks, said some grass is being removed in parks, street medians and at city buildings to follow Nevada legislation passed last year that prohibits using Colorado River water to irrigate “ornamental” turf — AB356. That’s one factor in moves the city is making to use water more efficiently. The other involves looking at the ease of maintaining what grass remains, and making sure the city doesn’t create more maintenance work in the process.

These two “lenses” are reshaping the city’s outdoor water use.

“We are not going to just go in and remove turf and call it a day,” Palmer said, emphasizing the city’s commitment to parks and recreation. The city maintains 33 parks, 13 miles of trails and 15 buildings.

A landscaping crew removes grass along a sidewalk near Brian Cram Middle School on Wednesday, May 27, 2022. (Greg Haas / 8NewsNow)

Palmer expects it to take two years, maybe two and a half, to make all the changes North Las Vegas has laid out in its master plan.

Decisions guided by drought will soon affect the Cheyenne Sports Complex, where four baseball diamonds and a football field are adjacent to the College of Southern Nevada’s Cheyenne campus.

Part of the plan involves a 15-foot warning track at the outfield fences, shrinking the amount of grass needed and making the field safer at the same time. City officials expect the adjustments at the Cheyenne park to be the biggest project at any of the city’s parks. Desert landscaping will replace turf in other parts of the park.

The same design for baseball fields will be followed as North Las Vegas prepares to put in six athletic fields at Craig Ranch Park. Three will use artificial turf and three will be natural grass. Palmer said experience has taught that artificial turf just gets too hot for kids — adults can tolerate the heat better.

Craig Ranch Regional Park. (Greg Haas / 8NewsNow)

In an interview in early May, Palmer said work on the fields will start sometime in July and take six months to complete.

“We’re integrating the legislative mandate for xeriscaping in all of our parks and trails. We’re anticipating the use of artificial grass in a lot of areas,” he said.

“But the whole focus in our communities has been limit the amount of grass in the residential areas and bring the citizens out to the park to enjoy that green grass,” Palmer said. “We will always maintain large open-space green space for the kids and families to come out and enjoy picnics to sporting events to whatever the case may be.”