Tuesday, April 3, 2012

They locked all the parks and put them in a park museum?

This week's theme: I love this city, but I hate the way it's run.

Today's gripe? Our parks.
"They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got
'Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot"
-"Big Yellow Taxi," by Joni Mitchell

That seems to be the City's response to public use of our parks. Lock up the parking lots, restrict permit use to a select few, and tear down the pools. Dog parks? Never! Soccer? It might damage the turf! Festivals with beer vendors? No fun and games here!

Specifically, every lot at Beaver Brook Park has been locked up tight since January. Why? Unauthorized vehicles parking in the Mann Street Lot, illegal dumping on Mayfield Street, and the ongoing 2 day a week yard waste collection in the main Chandler Street lot creates a knee jerk reaction that the lots must be closed to prevent misuse.

Here's my solution to the 'misuse.' 

-Call up Pat's Towing and tow any vehicles from the Mann Street lot that are misusing the lot on Mann Street (which is a free, public lot- not sure where the misuse comes from.) I'm sure Pat's has some extra time on their hands now.

-Close off one end of the main Chandler Street lot for the permanent location of the yard waste. Leave the other end open for vehicles. People drop yard waste at the entrance of the lot seven days a week. Locking the gates just creates the Great Wall of Trash.

-Have Parks do a regular check of Mayfield Street for illegal dumping. Maybe the occasional presence of a cruiser or a camera to catch illegal dumping might cut down on the mess. The lot on Chandler Street used to be an ideal late night spot for the WPD, back when the lot was open and we had more officers.

-Lastly, trust the people who use the parks to help keep them clean. You already do. The City hasn't bought rock dust or mowed the little league fields in Beaver Brook for over a decade. Ted Williams Little League maintains those fields and is responsible for unlocking the lots when we have games. We would much rather work with the City about illegal dumping then have to rush over with a key every time someone has a practice. We've worked with the City on tagging in the park, and now have a wonderful commitment from one of our team sponsors, Herb Duggan Painting. Herb has repainted our shed, bathrooms and field house, and he and his employees keep a vigilant eye out for any tagging and have it cleaned up before we even have the chance to say anything. Thank you Herb!

On a final note before I get off my soap box, a dog park would be wonderful, please shake down find some corporate sponsors for a pool in every park,  and let the soccer players play.

If we want to be a world class city, we need parks and green spaces. 


Nicole said...

Is there a way for them to focus the activity at the lawn drop-off to one location? Is there a streetlight nearby where it looks like a camera could be attached? (Those are the kinds of things that DPW looks for when they're assessing whether a dumping spot is a candidate for camera enforcement, I think.)

Sean Dacey said...

Yes and yes.

There's a pole right next to where the dumping takes place on Mayfield that could catch video of people coming and going.

The lawn drop off is supposed to be in the upper parking lot. They lock the gates to prevent people from dropping off trash in the parking lot, so some drop it at the gate, some drop it on Mayfield Street.

The guys who work the lot refuse to go to Mayfield Street to pick anything up, as does the DPW worker in charge of the park, which means we have to call every time something gets dumped.

It's frustrating. We have the same conversation every year, every month, every week.