The city’s Parks Department, which took a major hit in the 2010 budget, has started to remove about 400 trash cans from 128 neighborhood parks and urban trails as a cost-cutting measure.
As a result, parks officials are asking the public be good stewards of the city’s parks and dispose of their trash elsewhere.
“Certainly, we’re hopeful that everyone will pitch in and help,” Kurt Schroeder, the city’s Parks, Trails and Open Space manager, said today.
But “it could happen that people won’t heed that request and trash will build up, trash won’t be taken home,” he said.
This year, the city cut the parks maintenance budget by more than $3.8 million and eliminated 27 parks maintenance positions
Schroeder said the remaining 11 parks maintenance workers don’t have the time to pick up trash.
“It’s going to be difficult enough for those folks to try to mow their parks on a biweekly basis…They’re doing anything and everything out there,” he said.
“We could spend (about 12 percent) of our time collecting trash, and we just don’t have that luxury any longer,” he added.
The city will still keep trash cans at sports complexes, community parks, regional parks and special event venues.
The only neighborhood park that will continue to have trash cans is the Nancy Lewis Park, named after the former parks director.
Schroeder said philanthropist Lyda Hill donated about $47,000 this year to maintain the entire park.
“She’s philanthropic, and this is one park she has an interest in, so she’s providing money for us to maintain it,” he said. “She has for a couple of years.”
Residents can also help out by adopting a park or trail.