Calling All Crew Members

When it comes to park maintenance in the fall, some things are as certain as the leaves changing color and the days getting shorter.

Now is the time to get moving on fall cleanup. Photo Courtesy Of Travis Sales

Most departments dedicate significant time to rounding up fallen leaves, crushing them, and disposing of them. Tree pruning and planting are fairly routine jobs. Many departments will take a final crack at weeding and look ahead to turning mowers into snow plows and blowers.

But some tasks might not be so common across the country, or there may be a better way to handle those duties that have become second nature. We asked several maintenance personnel to share their trials and tribulations, as well as their tips and tricks on how to make fall maintenance run smoothly and efficiently.

Catch Up

Whether equipment needs service in-house or is sent out for repair, most departments echo the same sentiment–fall is the time to catch up on projects.

“Our spring and summer are so nuts that we are usually catching up on problem areas that we weren’t able to get to,” says Karen Viera, administrative assistant for the city of Nampa, Idaho.

“Unless it’s critical, we store items that are broken until we have a chance to get to it.”

While this is a wise approach to dividing the workload, why not take it a step further and recruit additional hands to help?

Viera explains that while equipment is repaired and inventoried through the winter, any work that can be done by volunteer groups in the spring–such as repainting and repairing picnic tables–is put off until then.

Jesse Felix, superintendent of parks for the West Chicago Park District (Ill.), says volunteers came in handy last year in juggling multiple projects in the fall “off-time.” He says the strategy helps lighten the load on full-time staff members during the more hectic peak times of spring and summer.

“Last fall, for example, we painted the pool and assisted a group of volunteers with installing an 18-hole disc-golf course,” he explains.

Graffiti Removal

Unfortunately, there is always some vandalism and graffiti that require attention–and what better time to clean the scribbling up than in fall before closing down facilities.

Be sure your parks–and park equipment–are ready for winter. Photos Courtesy Of Fort Collins Parks Staff

Mike Dyszkiewicz, superintendent of the parks and recreation department for the city of South Bend, Ind., advises other departments to shut down restrooms and other facilities before Halloween to avoid further damage.

“I mean, there’s always vandalism, but there seems to be a trend, especially that time of year that we get hit hard just because of the season,” he says.

Dyszkiewicz recommends using a soda-blaster treatment to remove graffiti because the baking-soda solution does not harm the environment or put dangerous chemicals into the ground and surrounding areas.

Southern Saturation

However, not everyone is anticipating the arrival of winter with an arctic blast. In fact, the majority of departments will be fertilizing, aerating, slicing, and mowing well into the fall-foliage months.

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