Kelley Hook, a South Omaha resident said she’s upset about the condition of her neighborhood park, Spring Lake Park to be exact. She said uncut grass and trash have become eyesores.
Her family has lived in the Spring Lake Park neighborhood for over 70 years and the park used to be kept in pristine condition. However, after moving back to town earlier this year she said she is now embarrassed with the shape the park is in. "When the College World Series was still at Rosenblatt they did everything they could to make this area look pristine,” said Hook, “when they tore down Rosenblatt stadium then it seemed like this area of town and this park in particular just kind of got neglected."
When Hook moved back in March she said as soon as the weather started to warm up she noticed problems on her daily walks with her dog. “My biggest concern is just the lack of upkeep by the city,” said Hook.
Brook Bench the Director of the Omaha Parks and Rec Department says maintenance of parks is something they try to stay on top of year-round. "I’ve been a part of Rosenblatt and I’ve been in park maintenance for a long time and it just goes in cycles,” said Bench. Hook said the city has allowed weeds to become overgrown, trash to pile up, and the grass to go unmowed. “Generally, when they mow the area of the park, they never pick up trash so what starts out as 10 pieces of trash after they mow is now 100 pieces of trash,” said Hook.
Bench says crews do weed control once a year and try to mow every seven to 10 days. “We don't recommend anybody mows over trash, we try to pick up all the trash. I'm not gonna say that has never happened because that has happened, our staff is trained to pick up trash, police the area, then mow it,” said Bench.
He said that this past season there has been more rain than normal so right now the department is trying to play catch up. “When you have this much rain and the humidity, it's just been a perfect storm for grass to continue to grow,” said Bench.
Hook said she called the mayor's hotline to complain about a month ago -- they said they would look into the problem -- but she hasn't seen a difference. “It's frustrating and disappointing to see that they have let it get to this point,” she said. However, Bench says that residents just need to be patient during this time. “We'll get there, it's just gonna take us a little time,” he said.
Bench said that when people call to complain that the department continues along their normal routes and routines for the day but when they get to the complained about area they will check out the problem and see if further action needs to be taken.