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Parks & Recreation Adapting Procedures to Maintain Parks, Keep Public and Staff Safe during COVID-19

Department is focused on safety and cleanliness of parks and Open Space trails

The City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department has been hard at work to keep City parks and Open Space trails safe and clean throughout the COVID-19 emergency. As a result, the Department continues to adapt in numerous ways to keep City staff and the general public safe while keeping up with general maintenance of these facilities.

“The current crisis has proven that parks, Open Space, and trails are essential to our community,” stated Dave Simon, Director of Parks and Recreation. “City parks and Open Space trails have provided a much-needed outlet for Burqueños during this challenging time. Our crews have been fantastic throughout the public health emergency, working hard to keep these vital public spaces open, safe, and clean.”

The spring and summer months are the busiest time of year for the Parks and Recreation Department. The Department has maintained sufficient staffing in order to implement standard maintenance schedules and has increased some efforts to keep pace with increased use earlier in the season. Crews are sanitizing high touch surfaces in parks, including tables, benches, and trash cans. Playgrounds are also being sanitized, but the public is reminded that playgrounds are currently closed in response to COVID-19. Crews have also maintained the frequency of trash pickup, even increasing at some sites to keep up with the heavier usage of parks and trails. Parks and Recreation staff has also actively monitored trailheads and parking lots and patrolled parks to encourage compliance with social distancing requirements.

The Parks and Recreation Department has now begun to implement mowing schedules and has ramped up watering at City parks as the weather has warmed. Moving forward, parks will be mowed every other week, and grass will be watered at slightly reduced levels in order to slow some growth and place less burden on maintenance staff stretched by the coronavirus crisis.

“We will continue to adapt our processes as needed,” said Simon. “We ask for the public’s patience and understanding as we work to keep parks in the best shape possible. The public can make a big difference by packing out trash and volunteering to help.”

While park maintenance and Open Space crews generally work outside in the field, the Department has implemented procedures to keep staff physically distanced for their health and safety. This involves limiting crew interaction while working in maintenance yards, reducing the number of employees traveling together to work sites, and supplying employees with appropriate personal protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, to use while on the job.

The public is reminded that if they observe any critical maintenance needs, they can report those issues by calling 311 or 505-382-5926 after hours. Persons interested in volunteering can contact the Department at 505-857-8657.