Friday, April 6, 2012

Adopt-a-Park-Program launched in Hailey

Parks and Lands Board aims at involving business community

Express Staff Writer

Bleachers at Hailey-owned Lions Park have seen better days. The city’s adopt-a-park program could provide more resources for keeping parks in shape.

The city of Hailey is reaching out to businesses and other organizations for help to maintain the city's 16 public parks.

The city spends $137,000 each year on park maintenance, including $30,000 per year for irrigation water. The parks' sizes range from quarter-acre pocket parks in out-of-the-way places to eight-acre Keefer Park in Woodside, complete with ball fields and playgrounds.

Volunteer groups have already pitched in to improve recreation opportunities at Keefer Park. The city would like to encourage other groups to help out elsewhere.

In an effort to stretch tax dollars following a major drop in revenues in the past few years, the Hailey Parks and Lands Board has launched an Adopt-a-Park program to enlist community support. Under the new program, businesses and organizations are invited to "adopt" public parks, providing spring cleanup, mowing and possibly more work in exchange for publicity.

Parks and Lands Board member Kathy Noble said the effort began in response to financial demands on city coffers to cover the expense of park maintenance.

"It's basically a funding problem," Noble said. She said some small parks like Echo Park on the Toe-of-the-Hill Trail can cost the city as much as $5,000 per acre annually to maintain.

"It's a little postage stamp of a park," Noble said. "We could go to mowing every other week and cut irrigation back to save time on Echo Park."

Noble said that under the new program, companies could pay for park maintenance services instead of completing the work themselves, and still get credit in advertising for adopting the park.

Companies willing to help out will have logos featured on signs at parks, on banners at special events and in newspaper advertising paid for by the city.

Public Works Director Tom Hellen said details of the program will be finalized later this month and passed on to the City Council for approval.

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