What Is Park Maintenance?

Park maintenance includes maintenance activities performed to ensure public parks are clean, safe, and operational. It includes pruning trees, mowing grass, clearing garbage, and planting flowers and shrubs. The goal of park maintenance is to ensure that parks serve the needs of the public.

Park Maintenance

Parks are an essential component of any community, especially for fun, relaxation, and social meetups. There are many different kinds of parks; some have playgrounds and benches, while others have natural scenery and protected wildlife areas. Regardless of the type, park maintenance is crucial for park cleanliness and safety.

How Are Parks Maintained?

Park maintenance workers oversee park maintenance. They plant and maintain flowers and shrubs, apply pesticides and fertilizers, clean park facilities, and ensure park equipment remains in good working condition. For example, workers may clear dead plants, dry leaves, and other debris during Spring. Quarterly, they may oversee the maintenance of equipment like lawnmowers, pruning shears, irrigation systems, and blades. Park supervisors sometimes use Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) to plan and schedule maintenance tasks. CMMS are software programs that organize maintenance operations, streamline procedures, eliminate paper checklists, and team communication, and support cost-effective managerial decision-making.

MaintainX is the world’s first CMMS platform designed with real-time chat. Operational managers, maintenance technicians, and government employees can instant message one another directly within the app’s work orders.

Why Should We Keep Parks Clean?

Clean parks ensure that visitors have a safe and enjoyable environment for relaxation, meetups, picnics, jogging, and other purposes. The presence of litter and graffiti in a park can drive away visitors.

Examples of Park Maintenance

Maintenance activities performed to retain the aesthetic value of parks include:

  • Clearing fallen leaves
  • Watering the grass
  • Fertilizing the soil
  • Trimming plants and trees
  • Mowing the grass
  • Removing garbage
  • Cleaning the restrooms
  • Removing graffiti
  • Inspecting and repairing amenities such as playgrounds, picnic tables, and benches
  • Keeping trails and paths clear

In addition to the above tasks, increased lighting can reduce instances of vandalism and graffiti. This helps to ensure that parks stay in good condition and visitors feel safer using them.

Types of Park Maintenance Workers

What does a park maintenance worker do? Park maintenance workers are responsible for keeping parks in good condition. They provide safe and clean facilities in addition to protecting the natural and cultural resources of the park. Different types of park maintenance workers include:

  • Janitors: They clean park buildings, picnic shelters, restrooms, and other park facilities. They also replace burnt-out light bulbs within the park.
  • Landscape Professionals: Landscape professionals oversee the park’s plants. They plant flowers and shrubs, mow lawns, remove weeds, and clear leaves and debris. They also manage irrigation systems and apply fertilizers to plants besides maintaining fencing and signages.
  • Maintenance Technicians: They perform maintenance on park water, electrical, and HVAC systems. Other duties include servicing equipment and tools used by landscape professionals.
  • Maintenance Supervisors: They are in charge of planning and scheduling park maintenance. They organize resources needed for park maintenance. This includes taking part in the hiring process for other types of maintenance workers.

Local, state, and federal governments hire park maintenance workers under their jurisdictions through government payrolls. In municipal governments, these workers usually fall under parks and recreation departments.

Park maintenance personnel perform maintenance tasks in all kinds of weather conditions. They should also have excellent communication skills to be able to interact with park visitors.

Park Maintenance Certifications and Training

Park maintenance jobs require entry-level experience and little formal education. Most of the time, workers need little more than a high school diploma. They are responsible for handling fertilizers and pesticides and are required to have a pesticide license in many jurisdictions.

Despite the minimal formal education requirements, there are training and certifications that can help park maintenance workers advance their careers. They include:

  • Certified Park and Recreation Professional Certification (CPRP): Offered by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the CPRP certification equips park maintenance workers for a wide range of park systems.
  • Public Grounds Management Certificate: The Professional Grounds Management Society offers this certification. It targets both grounds technicians and grounds managers. The certification covers topics such as basic pruning, pest management, and plant identification.
  • Playground Maintenance Technician Program: NRPA also offers this program. The program equips maintenance workers with playground safety skills, practical playground maintenance procedures, and inspection principles. Other institutions, such as Indiana University, also offer the program in partnership with the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands.
  • Building Operator Certification: The building operator certification is aimed at maintenance workers who work in parks with buildings that host events. Candidates are trained in building systems maintenance, including energy, water, and HVAC maintenance.

State-based park associations also offer numerous training opportunities for workers interested in building their skill sets.

FAQ: Park Maintenance

What’s the Difference between a Park and a Common?

The main difference between a park and a common is in how they are used. Park activities are usually restricted to recreational activities such as relaxation, picnics, jogging, and playing. Commons, on the other hand, are for general use by the public. They can be used even for grazing livestock. With that said, commons are relatively rare in the United States nowadays; most of them have become parks.

What Makes a Park a Park?

A park is a designated area of natural or planted scenery used for human enjoyment or to protect natural habitats and wildlife. The intended use and target audience influence the design of a park. Children’s recreational parks usually have playgrounds, while adult parks have walking or jogging paths.

Why Do We Need Parks?

Parks provide space for residents to socialize and bond with family and friends. Recreational activities have both physical and mental health benefits. Additionally, parks protect natural ecosystems, their trees clean the air, and provide learning opportunities for children about the ecosystem.

How Do You Become a Park Ranger?

Park rangers protect and preserve the value of parks so that the public can enjoy them. They work either in law enforcement and protection or visitor service roles. One can be employed by municipal and county parks departments, state park systems, or the National Park Service (NPS).

NPS park rangers need either a bachelor’s degree or post-secondary education and at least a year of work experience. Volunteering for park ranger jobs or doing seasonal work while in college can help students build up the required expertise.

Use a CMMS to Streamline Park Maintenance

Park maintenance is crucial to create clean, safe, and functional parks that residents can enjoy visiting and using. Related activities include cleaning park facilities, clearing dry leaves and debris, and repairing broken park facilities and systems. City governments can use CMMS software platforms and mobile apps to streamline maintenance operations and enhance team communication.

author photo
Caroline Eisner

Caroline Eisner is a writer and editor with experience across the profit and nonprofit sectors, government, education, and financial organizations. She has held leadership positions in K16 institutions and has led large-scale digital projects, interactive websites, and a business writing consultancy.

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