YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Youngstown Parks and Recreation Director Robert Burke is asking neighbors to have patience after a wet spring and short staffing left them unable to get some parts of the parks mowed until this week.
When people look down Belle Vista Avenue, there is a stark contrast between residents’ neatly trimmed lawns and the hillside of the city park across the street.
“It’s just not nice to look at, driving by and living in this area. It would be nice to have it maintained. The neighborhood would look better. I think people would take more pride in where they live,” said resident Michelle Wade.
She was relieved to see crews out weed-eating the hillside on Friday, but said she was aggravated that it took so long.
“It’s very frustrating,” Wade said.
But residents said the grass is not the worst problem in the area. They said because there are no trash cans, it is routine to find sharp pieces of glass just lying around. There also is profanity spray painted on the slide at the park, which used to house Borts Pool.
Wade said she worries about her 6-year-old daughter.
“She should not have to deal with that in a playground setting. It should be about having fun, not falling on glass or reading profanity or anything like that,” she said.
We took her concerns to the city on Friday. Burke said there are several reasons the hillside had not been mowed until Friday. Two of their 14 staffers are retiring, and summer help does not start until next week, so they’re short handed.
And the weather has not been on their side.
“We had a lot of storm weather and we could not get our heavy equipment on to some of the properties. For example, at Borts Hill, it is a very steep slope and every time we went out there, I went out there myself prior to putting employees out there, I was slipping and sliding down that hill and I did not want to put employees in jeopardy,” Burke said.
As for the trash can, Burke said he sent a crew up to check it out as soon as we called. Apparently, trash can theft is a big problem in city parks, with people stealing them to make grills or scrap metal.