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Young: St. Charles Park District stays busy during winter

Published: Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Ever wonder what your park district does during the winter months?

If there’s no snow, parks crews make progress for the busy spring and summer seasons with interior painting, building repairs and mechanical maintenance. From snow shovels to weed wackers to mowers to the district’s trucks and buses, all equipment must be inspected and kept in working order to ensure efficiency.

Staff are checking bearings, sharpening blades and finishing necessary repairs to make sure the district is fully operational when the warm weather returns. Fences, trash/recycle containers, picnic tables, bike racks – all physical property found in and around the parks – are evaluated to determine the type of repair or maintenance required.

If the white stuff is coming down, there’s the task of removing snow from St. Charles Park District’s parking lots and sidewalks – a job that requires three-man crews to be on 24/7 duty for a week at a time. Winter also brings outdoor enthusiasts to the district’s three ice skating rinks and two sledding hills, all of which have to be groomed and readied with fun and safety in mind. Staff work in the evenings since these facilities are enjoyed all day long by sledders and skaters.

What would your local parks be without blooming plants and flowers? The district’s horticulturist crew is busy each winter planning flower bed designs, ordering seeds needed for the thousands of plants that adorn park sites come spring, and growing many of these flowers in the greenhouse at the Denny Ryan Service Center off Bolcum Road. Typically, more than 500 flats of plants are grown during the late winter and early spring months.

And all of those programs and special events your family enjoys – camps, swim lessons, trips, sports classes, summer concerts, the Fourth of July celebration and more – are planned well in advance. Recreation supervisors work three to six months before the start of a program or event crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s to offer recreation opportunities that enrich your quality of life. 

The St. Charles Park District strives to make each park, facility and program inviting and safe for visitors of all ages and abilities. For details, visit the district’s website at www.stcparks.org.

• Erika Young is public relations and marketing manager for the St. Charles Park District.

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