It’s their busiest time of the year, and Albuquerque park maintenance crews are in overdrive once again, attacking overgrown lawns around the city following a rainy few months. Fresh grass clippings cover the sidewalk near Hyder Park.
“The park is the reason we live here. It’s a beautiful asset for the area,” says Mitch Stucker.
Hyder Park is just one of many around town that city maintenance crews mowed Tuesday, during what they call their “spring sprint.”
“This is the transition from winter into spring and eventually into summer. So we are winding down all our winter projects and we’re starting our summer ventures,” says Park Superintendent Mark Chavez.
Chavez says this is their busiest time of year. He says they have to get nearly 300 parks ready for increased activities.
“Weeds are everywhere so that’s one of the things we’re tackling. Turf is beginning to come out of dormancy. People are beginning to use our parks, trash is increasing. So we’re adapting all of our crews and getting ready for full-blown summer long,” Chavez says.
Chavez says they have only 60 full-time groundskeepers to cover 3,000 acres of parks across the city. In the lead-up to summer, they try to hire up to 60 temporary workers to play catch-up.
“We recognize that we are providing a service to the citizens of Albuquerque, so the citizens of Albuquerque can use our parks and enjoy them and have a positive experience,” Chavez says.
Mitch Stucker lives near Hyder Park. He says despite the high demand, he sees crews out once a week.
“The city has done a good job of keeping the park in good shape,” Stucker says.
The city says the mowing schedule does vary depending on how much activity a park is seeing. Chavez says they try to go to bigger, popular parks twice a week to keep up with weeds,
Since the beginning of the year, Albuquerque’s Code Enforcement team has issued about 1,300 weed violations.