Oakland is about to get a whole lot grimier. The City’s proposed layoffs in park maintenance and landscaping are going to decimate our ability to keep things in even the moderately clean-ish state they are now.
While I don’t think that it should be up to residents to do the basics of the City’s job when it comes to routine maintenance, it appears that soon we will have to. Volunteer time that in a well-run City would keep parks or streets in an extra bright and shiny state will now be required just to keep things minimally presentable. And here’s how you can help.
The Oakland Parks Coalition is seeking people willing to become park stewards, someone willing to keep an regular eye on the state of some a particular piece of open or recreational space. The Parks Coalition lists the duties of a park steward as follows:
Basic Stewardship Role:
- Fill out park evaluation in the fall of each year on Love Your Parks Day.
- Monitor and report any park problems as needed.
- Follow-up to be sure problem is resolved.
Many stewards also choose to:
- Build community participation to assist in caring for the park.
- Establish collaborative relationships with city maintenance staff.
- Assist staff in determining capital improvement priorities for their park.
You can find a list of parks in need of stewards here (PDF).
And if none of those stewardless parks are near you, or maybe you just aren’t up to a long-term commitment right now, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways you can help out. This document (PDF) provides a list of volunteer opportunities in June for street clean-up and litter pick-up. (And remember, of course, nobody’s stopping you from just going out and cleaning up the trash on your own street any old time.)