Concerns About Public Spaces
Public spaces are community assets and they enrich the lives of people using those spaces or living nearby. As those spaces become more heavily utilized, we are discovering that they need more attention in order to maintain them at a level that is acceptable to the public. The public has demanded that recreational spaces like baseball, soccer, lacrosse and football fields, as well as open and programmed space, look their best and be available almost around the clock.
Because of this demand, more and more parks and recreational areas as well as municipal buffer and roadway spaces and have installed irrigation systems to keep the landscapes usable and beautiful for as long as possible. Fertilizing these spaces is also at record levels in order to keep up the appearance and to support the additional stress that we now place upon them.
As taxpayers, we all need to be concerned with how our public spaces are managed. We want availability but are frustrated that routine maintenance requires that we stay off the fields or don’t use certain areas while maintenance and fertilizing is in process.
We know it is costly to maintain roadway buffers and island planters, but we love the look and feel they make in our communities. Increasingly we’re hearing from people concerned with environmental issues and who want to restrict fertilizing and water usage due to concerns over water availability and the damages to the local ecosystem due to fertilizer runoff. We’re conflicted in our desire to continue to have these beautiful spaces and the environmental and financial cost that we know comes with maintaining those spaces.
What if we could reduce fertilizer runoff and water usage while at the same time ensuring that we have usable parks and municipal spaces that reflect our community’s desire for these kind of quality spaces? What if we could also reduce the cost at the same time? Are there realistic solutions that can accomplish all these goals?
YES THERE ARE.
But it will require us all to change some long standing practices that are heavily ingrained in the way we look at maintaining public spaces.
We, as a community, should look for ways that help solve environmental issues while at the same time enhancing the look of our community properties and strengthening our local property values.