August 19, 2020
The OKC Parks reduced mowing schedule stemming from budget cuts means residents may find overgrown grass and other maintenance issues as the summer continues.
“It’s frustrating for our residents and our staff to see parks that aren’t in tip-top shape because of the COVID-19 economic crash that reduced our budget,” said Assistant Parks Director Melinda McMillan-Miller. “We hope this is temporary, and by the next mowing season we’ll be back to our normal schedule. But as with most things related to the pandemic, we’re learning and adjusting every day.
Mowing crews visit parks every 21-25 days on the reduced schedule. Summertime plant trimming and litter pickup, combined with fewer available staff because of the budget cuts, prevent crews from maintaining the normal two-week schedule that begins in the spring.
Neighborhoods and residents can call OKC Parks at (405) 297-2220 to collaborate on ways to organize volunteers to provide extra trash pickup, mowing and other help between scheduled City mowing and maintenance.
The global economic crisis caused a sharp decline to local sales tax revenue, which is by far the largest funding source for day-to-day City of Oklahoma City operations. Mowing is a significant part of the OKC Parks budget, making it an unavoidable cutback when budgets shrink.
OKC Parks mows 6,900 acres in Oklahoma City, which includes 171 parks, sections of the Oklahoma River, medians, rights-of-way and other City-owned property.