Park restrooms won’t open until April 15
Typically, the city opens park restrooms April 15, said Tom Presny, parks director.
The budgeted park season is April 15 to Oct. 15, and the 17 parks workers in the off-season are shifted to other departments, such as the water utility and the streets department, where they collect garbage, salt and plow.
“At this point, we don’t have any parks department employees,” Presny said.
If an emergency arises during the off season, such as vandalism in a park, Presny must request employees from other departments.
Usually, parks employees are phased back into the parks beginning April 1. They clean pavilions, remove winter debris and get out trash containers and picnic tables, for instance.
Turning on the water to restrooms and drinking fountains is a cooperative effort between the water and parks departments, he said.
The city waits until April 15 before turning on the water to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during a cold snap, he said.
“While we have a really inviting opportunity to take advantage of, (there) is both a staffing limitation as well as a concern of the potential of freezing the fixtures,” Presny said.
In the off season, Presny and Cullen Slapak, assistant parks director, oversee the cemetery and restoration work in the greenbelts, he said.
Workers usually begin mowing the third week in April, although it might be sooner this year because of the warm weather, Presny said.
This year, the city will hire six fewer part-time summer workers to save about $35,000.
Normally, the department hires 15 summer workers. The cutback means the mowing cycle will go from once every seven working days to once every eight working days.