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posted June 5, 2004

Is Park Maintenance Pulling Out of Its Nosedive?

From the June 2004 Newsletter
Our only path?

The main throughfare through our park is not wheelchair accessible

At the beginning of May, we were tickled to report that things were looking up for park maintenance: we got a half-time worker assigned to the park to pick litter and keep things repaired. It even looked like we might get a fence for the new kitchen garden, although the parks department was out of fence posts for the time being. But we heard they were getting some.

During May this didn't work out so well. By June 1 the fence had not materialized, neither had grass seed to fill in all those bald patches all over the park. Neither had the gaps in the playground fence been fixed. The sand in the playground was still unharrowed and hard, and there were still deep hollows at the bottom of the slide and under the swings (if anybody falls, they really get a jolt). The unpaved dirt track that runs through the park for all those hundreds and hundreds of park users to walk along/push strollers/ride bikes or wheelchairs - was still eroded in places and rutted and just as bumpy as last year (no grader had smoothed it yet). The crooked picnic tables and the benches that were missing slats from last year had stayed exactly that way. The grass was long in places, short in others, and in distress in the centre of the soccer field (already), with holes where the irrigation outlets were.

Our park was not a complete orphan. Park maintenance staff person (and former scout-master) Joe Eschweiler kept picking up the trash, so the park was still cleaner than we're used to from other years. Joe also took a run at the ruts in the Sri Lankan's grass "overball" court (overball is a variation of volleyball) beside the basketball court. He used a lawnmower and a weed-whipper in an ingenious way to even out the ground - and it worked, so hopefully there will be no more twisted ankles for a while. Also, our request for compost and wood chips for the garden volunteers turned up a couple of wheelbarrow-loads of each. We got the gift of a little round table and two stools, cast-offs from Riverdale Farm, and promises of more from a park furniture dump near there. That would be lovely.

But you can't run a park only on promises. On June 2, Roman (the park maintenance foreman) came and walked all around the park to make a to-do list. He said that, even though his crew are overwhelmed with city parks grass-cutting, we'll see some action in the next days and weeks. By the next day the playground fence had been fixed and a couple of broken tables removed (and one repaired). So let's see how this next round of promises work out. Maybe the Parks maintenance crew will follow through.

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