Gary makes plans to mow parks this summer
By Michelle L. Quinn Post-Tribune correspondent March 2, 2013 11:26PM
Gary Park rankings
The following Gary parks have been designated Tier 1 parks and will be mowed biweekly; have trash picked up, restrooms cleaned, graffiti removed and other housecleaning every other day; and repairs completed within 48 hours as necessary:
Glen Ryan, 4220 E. 6th Place
Brunswick, 700 Clark St.
Tolleston, 1500 Rutledge
Washington, 1500 Connecticut St.
Roosevelt, 2200 W. Harrison St.
Howe, 3901 Vermont St.
Pittman Square 1500 W. Pennsylvania St.
The following parks have been designated Tier 2 parks and will be mowed every three weeks; have trash picked up, restrooms cleaned, graffiti removed and other housecleaning weekly; and repairs completed within one week as necessary:
Jackson, 300 Jackson St.
Hatcher, 2100 Missouri St.
Ironwood, 2400 Tennessee St.
Seberger, 2500 Bell St.
Buffington, 200 E. 7th Ave.
Borman Square, 700 Madison St.
Gilroy, 3000 Harrison
East Glen, 4100 Maryland St.
The following parks have been designated Tier 3 parks and will be mowed monthly; have trash picked up, restrooms cleaned, graffiti removed and other housecleaning bimonthly; and repairs completed within two weeks as necessary:
Junedale Fields, 5000 Missouri St.
Edison, 200 Burr St.
Pulaski Playground, 1600 Rhode Island St.
Ambridge-Mann Center, 2822 W. 4th Ave.
Norton, 1300 Pierce St.
Patcher, 2300 Whitcomb St.
The following parks have been designated Tier 4 parks and will be mowed every six weeks, and have trash picked up and graffiti removed monthly:
Aetna Playground, 1000 Wyoming St.
Aetna Playground 2, 1300 S. Green St.
Indian Boundary, 1200 Allen St.
June LaBroi, 1100 Fayette St.
Westbrook Fields and Park, 700 Waverly St.
Dallas Tot Lot, 2600 Dallas St.
Marquette Park and Gleason Park are the city’s two Regional parks and will be maintained daily.
Source: Gary Department of Public Parks
Updated: April 4, 2013 6:54AM
GARY — Getting all of the city’s parks mowed this summer will continue to be a challenge, but the Public Parks Department has a different plan to tackle them for this summer.
The department has hired three new groundskeepers, for a total of six, to keep at least the priority parks in decent shape this year, Parks Superintendent Lori Latham said during a parks meeting hosted by councilwoman Marilyn Krusas, D-1st, last week. Four of them will provide full-time maintenance for Marquette Park.
Last year, the city had hired two independent contractors to pick up the slack, Latham said, but the city’s procurement system is too long for small businesses to absorb.
“They couldn’t afford to wait for the city to pay them, so they would have to take other jobs, and we can’t afford to hire a big company like Tru-Green, who would be able to absorb a longer billing cycle,” she said. “(Hiring maintenance in-house) gives us more flexibility.”
Additionally, park maintenance will fall under South Gleason Golf Course manager Bob Farag’s purview. Latham said Farag’s experience as a greenskeeper makes him the best person for the job.
Last year, mowing and maintenance was scheduled by day, Latham said, but this year, it will be scheduled by the tier under which the park falls. Those parks classified as Tier 1 will see the parks mowed biweekly; trash picked up, restrooms cleaned, graffiti removed and other housecleaning every other day; and repairs completed within 48 hours as necessary. Those parks are Glen Ryan, Brunswick, Tolleston, Washington, Roosevelt, Howe and Pittman.
Lesser-tiered parks, meanwhile, will receive maintenance within a week as necessary.
The city’s Adopt-A-Park program will continue to be a key factor in keeping up with the parks, Latham said, acknowledging the “spirit of volunteerism” isn’t as strong as it used to be. The Rev. Roger Whittum, of Calvary Assembly of God in the city’s Black Oak section, suggested a lack of communication from the department to volunteers might be a factor.
Latham said that was “hard to hear” and took responsibility.
“The city’s parks are held together by volunteers, and we can use their energy and willingness to do outreach,” she said. “I’ll absolutely recommit (to better communication) and give the volunteers the department they expect.”
Krusas called Latham’s efforts a “positive approach.”
“They can’t accomplish everything in 12 months; that’s why I keep insisting on a process that can be modified as needed,” she said. “But I think the department is showing a little more maturity and ability.”
In a look toward summer, Latham said two city pools will be open — Roosevelt pool and the Buffington splash pad. Gary Public Transit Corp.’s No. 13 bus, meanwhile, will take residents to the city’s beaches.