Maintenance: More Than Meets the Eye

Long story short, after a couple days of horsing the sod cutter around, loading heavy rolls of sod onto a flatbed truck, unloading and placing them at the park, I looked at the outfield and we had barely made a dent in the acres of remaining sod. The effort had about worn out our small crew, and me! It was then I began to realize, rarely is anything involving maintenance ever easy.

So, now, when an elected official, special-interest group or even staff begins discussions about a new facility, park, project, activity or whatever, the first words out of my mouth are: “What will the operations and maintenance costs be? What is your plan to take care of this 5, 10 or 15 years from now? What will the funding source be? Who is going to do the work?”

I am all for improvements and additions and progress, but unless the long-term maintenance and operations cost (manpower, funding, equipment, supplies) is factored in at the front end of any project, an otherwise good idea could end up being an anchor around a maintenance staff’s neck. Ultimately, it could become a liability rather than an asset.

Now, when I speak to individuals or community groups to tell them why their parks and recreation department is important to them, I make it a point to tell them what we have, how we take care of it and who does the work. I show them how many hours we spend in maintaining fields, facilities and parks. I tell them how long it takes to set up and take down sites before and after special events (another specialized form of maintenance). And these days, I make a point to let them know we’re attempting to find ways to do the same amount of work with a smaller crew and smaller budget.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine, is Director of Leisure Services (parks, recreation, library) in Peachtree City, Ga. Contact him at (770) 631-2542 or e-mail dls@peachtree-city.org.

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Related posts:

  1. Maintenance for Special Events
  2. P7 – When Preparation Meets Opportunity
  3. Knowledge Is Power; Share Your Knowledge on Field Maintenance
  4. Maintenance
  5. Maintenance Standards

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