Focus On First Impressions

“I had an excavator rip it up then a bulldozer regraded it,” he relates. “Then we brought seven truckloads of Perk-Pak, which is stone dust mixed with ¾-inch stone. It packs hard and we rolled calcium-chloride pellets right into the Perk-Pak.”

This container is made from culvert scrap.

The inexpensive trick worked like a charm, DeTellis says. “The driveway stays moist and keeps the dust down throughout the summer.”

Erosion issues not only are unsightly, but can also present safety hazards in areas where spring sun-seekers might be active.

On playgrounds, for example, wood-based fibers often break down over the winter and wash away, exposing the bare ground, or worse, rocks and roots. These areas are unattractive, and parents may be reluctant to allow their children to play in what is perceived to be unsafe conditions.

Ordering ground covering for play areas early will ensure you won’t experience shipment delays in the spring rush. Scheduling staff members or even volunteers ahead of time to spread the material will make sure there’s enough manpower to get the work done. Consider even involving kids to give them ownership in the playground.

Water Features

For parks that include water features—ponds or lakes—some spring-cleaning might provide safety and accessibility.

Before the leaves start budding is a good time to trim shrubs and bushes—particularly those around bodies of water. Bushes that hang over the water are often hiding places for snakes and other animals that may be dangerous to unsuspecting users.

This is also a good time to clear out any trash, branches, limbs, and other debris that has accumulated during the winter. Bare trees make it easier to see broken glass, sharp metals, or any other objects that might pose a safety threat.

These tasks and others like them appear small in comparison to the high-value maintenance targets that manifest themselves in springtime. But these minor items are often more visible and are more appreciated.

So, if anybody has other great spring-cleaning ideas, email me or the editor, and we’ll get them posted on the PRB website to expedite their use by fellow parks and rec professionals.

Randy Gaddo served for 15 years as a director in municipal parks and recreation after retiring from 20 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. He developed, wrote, administered, and presented maintenance plans as well as recreation master plans during that time. Gaddo earned his Master’s in Public Administration and now lives in Peachtree City, Ga. He can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email

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Related posts:

  1. Make Lasting First Impressions
  2. Aquatic Maintenance Is “Serious” Fun
  3. Field Maintenance
  4. Sustainable Maintenance
  5. LBWA–Freeze Frame

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