What a surprise! Boise residents don't like unkempt parks

Here's a sneak preview of our Friday editorial on the city of Boise's parks maintenance policy.

No, Boise City Hall isn’t being run by a bunch of recalcitrant, yardwork-averse teenagers. When City Hall blows off chores like mowing and weeding, it’s all in the name of science.

City leaders have made the conscious and goofy decision to quietly neglect a handful of parks this summer, just to see if people would notice and care.

Asked and answered. More than 110 people noticed this stealth experiment, and they care. They’re angry, and who can blame them? They want their parks maintained.

Who’d have thunk it?

Boiseans do not want their City of Trees to become the City of Weeds.

Boiseans value their parks. In City Hall’s most recent citizens’ survey, conducted in November 2010, 77 percent of respondents said they visited a city park at least once a month, while 34 percent visited at least weekly. But when Boiseans are asked to rank their funding priorities, parks and open space rank lag behind public safety, attracting and retaining businesses, environmental protection, planning for growth and public transportation.

The results may be mixed, but at least the yardstick is systematic — a scientific, $35,000 survey of Boiseans. There’s nothing scientific about the parks sneaky maintenance “experiment.” Consequently, the results are utterly predictable: Neglected parks don’t look as good, and the Boiseans who took the initiative to call City Hall aren’t happy.

Understandably, city leaders are exploring cost-cutting options, since they anticipate revenues will be tight in the years to come. Before writing a two-year budget that would go into effect on Oct. 1, 2013, they want to gauge the on-the-ground impacts of reducing parks maintenance, a move that could save $340,000 cq a year. Jade Riley, chief of staff to Mayor Dave Bieter, said the city could ask a parks maintenance question in its next citizen survey, in the works for the fall.

Well, that would make sense. But the city’s plan is to continue the maintenance experiment, collecting more public comment in the fall.
That makes for a long, weedy summer. And this experiment isn’t even a secret anymore. Call us spoilers, but Thursday’s Statesman front-page article helped blow the city’s cover.

The news is out, City Hall. Of course, this never should have been a secret in the first place.

"What a surprise! Boise

"What a surprise! Boise residents don't like unkempt parks"

Yea, especially when we taxes for thier continued upkeep. I think we should give the job of taking care of the parkes to a non-union private company allow bidding for the contract and save the taxpayer some money in the process if it's that hard. Expecially in the fire season.

Okay

That was hard to read and I am use to the way you write. By the way, "non-union private" companies doing a job doesn't always mean saving money and it doesn't mean we always get the desired results (example: private jails).

If your standard is "cheap",

If your standard is "cheap", hire non union.

If your standard is quality and value, hire union.

Which are you?

BTW, "cheap" doesn't always mean saving money. Do you hire the cheapest doctor? Auto mechanic? Why not?

union motto

Hey that's not in my contract so I'm not gonna do it.

Ever seen the picture of the street stipe painter and he paints over the roadkill animal. Classic union worker.

It's already been tried

Colorado Springs tried exactly what you propose. The outcome. NO one at City Hall in CS will tell you that money has been saved. There were some up-sides to the story, but the city saving money wasn't one of them.

To hear an in-depth article go to This American Life . org ... look up show #459, act three. It's about 25 minutes and gives some insight as to why privatizing public services isn't always as practical as it seems it should be.

"Who'd?" "Thunk?" Well,

"Who'd?" "Thunk?" Well, given the subject matter of the article, the verbiage fits in quite nicely.

Need to cut costs? Why are we developing new parks that don't

really need developing? I was heart broken when I realized that the Hyatt Wetlands Park on Maple Grove and McMillan (and Chinden?) was being developed. I used to take my dog there for walks daily, and one day, there were bulldozers there. I knew that the city had plans to develop the park, but I figured since the city's so broke, we had years before it would begin developing.

In result, the park is being developed, to the dismay of many, many people around the area. Not only did the park already have a great wetland area, it didn't need to be developed to have a nice natural habitat for animals. Gone are the foxes who used to scamper and play with my doggie, gone are the birds who used to nest and live in the ponds, gone are the rugged dirt trails that made one feel like they were walking around in the (rattlesnake-free) "mid Boise" foothills, and now there is nothing but ruined habitat and bulldozers. Reclaiming this former gravel pit is a great idea, but the entire atmosphere of the park has been ruined.

We're developing something that didn't need developing, and we're worried about saving money? Come on Boise Parks, What the WHAT is going on here?!?

PS: I hate the Hyatt Wetlands development now...it was so nice before.

And 35 grand to tell us

And 35 grand to tell us something that is common sense. Great job!

Reminds me of a trip to Mexico

Many years ago on a trip to Mexico I noticed that the country was building beautiful buildings to show it was modernizing. But along side those buildings being built, you could see that nothing was being spent to maintain those that they had.

Sort of summarizes Boise wanting to build a baseball stadium while it lets it's parks go to h.e.l.l.