Fresno County parks maintenance to suffer

FRESNO, Calif.

"It's a huge mistake to cut back especially when Fourth of July is coming up."

But maintenance will suffer because the Fresno County Board of Supervisors cut the Parks budget in half.

Supervisor Henry Perea acknowledges the problem: "You know we've taken our parks to the bones after the last three years of budget cuts and what we're seeing now is unkempt parks, we don't have as much service for the people who go to the parks."

The latest cut takes effect Monday, meaning four more park maintenance workers were trimmed from the budget. , but that leaves just five and a half workers to maintain the ten large parks, and seven smaller recreation and fishing areas, along with three county cemeteries. Eleven other parks workers must maintain dozens of other county properties, like the juvenile justice campus.

That makes each parks worker responsible for nearly four hundred acres of land. The man in charge of the parks, John Thompson of the Public Works Department says crews will do all they can.

"We'll keep them open, they might not be mowed as well, and there may be some trash around and the restrooms may not be as clean as they like, but we'll definitely try our best."

Perea says the County is hoping to get volunteers, or community groups to help. "What we've asked our parks director to do was to go out and look at community organizations that may want to adopt a park for a week or a month, patrol it, keep an eye on it."

But so far, no takers. Until help arrives, Thompson is asking park visitors to do their part.

"When you are walking the park or walking the trails pick up the aluminum cans the litter that's around and help us out."

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