Janesville parks workers need to adapt to reductions

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Ryan Broege
Monday, June 18, 2012
— When you drive past Lower Courthouse Park in downtown Janesville, what you see is not what Laura Neuenschwander sees.

Neuenschwander, 23, of Janesville works for the city parks department.

Where others might notice an emerging bed of flowers adjacent to the eastside sidewalk, she cannot help but be on constant alert for weeds.

"You probably wouldn't notice the weeds, but we do," she said. "Weeding is the top thing that goes unnoticed."

Neuenschwander is part of the downsized summer workforce that will tend to Janesville's parks. The crew was decreased from 16 to 11 as part of a "service-level reduction," said City Parks Director Tom Presny.

Presny said the parks department is adapting to a smaller staff by moving from a seven-day to an eight-day mowing schedule. The cycles use business days, meaning that a park mowed on Monday would get mowed Wednesday of the next week.

Neuenschwander has worked for the city for the past six summers.

Steve Godding, 22, of Janesville is spending his first summer as an employee of the parks department.

All of Godding's previous jobs were in retail and inventory.

"This is a lot more hands-on and physical," he said.

Constant upkeep of the city's parks is keeping the crew busy.

"I like to mow, and mulching can be fun," Neuenschwander said. "Even trash can be an interesting experience."

In the event of rain, the workers clean the bathrooms at Traxler Park or the parking garage in downtown Janesville.

Last updated: 8:45 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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