Winter is coming and just before a frost sets in, city Parks and Recreation Departments need to get their outdoor public spaces ready for chillier months. This is especially true in areas that experience the weather differentials of all four seasons. Most parks stay open to the public during the winter, yet some preparations need to be in place to ensure the staff and public are all safe. Here are five common tips for preparing your city park for winter.

1. Drain Bathroom and Spigot Plumbing Lines

This might be the number one item on your preparation to-do list. If your park has bathroom facilities, hose bibbs, and water fountains, draining the water supply lines is a must in colder climates. Once drained, the faucets and hose spigots can be left open to allow for any lingering moisture to escape. Then, lock up the bathrooms to discourage unauthorized use of premises and even fixture theft.

2. Clean and Secure Picnic Areas

There will be outdoor enthusiasts who will still want to sit outside at a picnic table or on a bench even when it is chilly outside. A good cleaning of grills and furniture makes sense after a busy summer season. Sturdy furnishings that can withstand the seasonal elements are always a smart idea, as are secured refuse receptacles. If your furnishings are painted, this is a good time of year to give them a new protective coat of paint or sealer.

3. Perform Fall Cleanup

It is advisable to do a thorough fall cleanup of the grounds. Gather and dispose of leaves and debris so as not to encourage any clogging of drainage wells or to leave tinder for possible fires in drier climates. At this time, you should also take care of any low-hanging or dead tree branches that could fall when there is snow and ice. Be sure to clean off basketball and racquet sports courts, as well as ball fields. Areas with special turf or clay can benefit from a tarp or natural material covering.

4. Tend to Playground and Court Equipment

One of the best features of a city park is the playground. Other fabulous areas are tennis and pickleball courts. Slides and other secured play equipment are likely fine to remain in place. However, some swings might need to be removed to prevent any injuries during windy winter days. Tennis and other racquet sports nets should be completely removed and placed in storage.

5. Get Ready for Pet Walking

Dogs have to be walked, so people will come to walk their furry friends at their local park. The best thing you can do for your community is to place pet waste bag dispensers with trash receptacles along walking paths. This will encourage dog owners to pick up after their furry friends and keep the park clean.

Every local city park is different and very unique to its area, demographic, and climate. Parks that are located in four-season climates are utilized differently in summer than in winter. These recreational areas have to be groomed and maintained for each season. When winter arrives your park needs to get ready for some crazy weather patterns and for a reduction in staff. Planning ahead and doing some basic prep work can make the transition less challenging.

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