The weeds are no longer winning at DeMeyer Park.
The large yellow patches that appeared in the once glorious green turf at Manitou Park soon will be history.
Maintenance crews are back in full force at six neighborhood parks that languished under planned neglect for about four months.
A city program to measure the impact of reduced services on the parks and park users was suspended last week. The goal of the experiment, originally slated to last six months, was to determine what kind of cost-cutting measure it could be.
Weve gathered the information we needed, said Doug Holloway, interim director of Boise Parks and Recreation.
During the program, no weeding, herbicide application or tree pruning was done at the selected parks. Grass was mowed every other week instead of weekly, and watering was cut by 25 percent. Park officials photographed the impacts for review by the mayor and City Council.
A couple of weeks ago, Mayor Dave Bieter visited most of the six parks, which were Quarry View, Fairview, Borah, Owyhee, Manitou and DeMeyer.
When he saw the weeds in the parking lot, he said, I think weve run our course on this, said Holloway.
The weeds were growing high in tree wells and encroaching on sidewalks and curbs. That was the No. 1 complaint from park users.
Turf complaints changed from the grass is too high in May to its turning yellow in June.
The public didnt get advance warning before the pilot program started in April because city officials wanted to see whether park users would notice and whether they had strong feelings about how it affected the parks.
The answer to both of those questions was yes. The citys online survey about the program drew 467 respondents, more than 42 percent of whom commented on DeMeyer Park.
Six landscaped medians also were part of the pilot, and 221 people expressed concern about those.
We know they cant tolerate what we implemented for the pilot program, Holloway said of Boise residents. We really dont know if theres somewhere in between thats a magic number where people dont notice.
After full services resumed last week, the public took notice and let the park department know.
It was such a treat to find Manitou Park trimmed and watered when we came over this evening, Carolyn Fritchle wrote in an email.
Damiana Uberuaga wrote: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I live directly across from Manitou Park and this morning going to work I was so pleasantly shocked! The sprinklers were on, the weeds were gone and the dogs were playing in the park. Joy!
Critics of the pilot program said that whatever savings could be achieved by cutting back services might be lost if the city has to replace dead turf and other vegetation. The estimated annual savings if reductions were done at all neighborhood parks was $340,000.
Holloway said there was no long-term damage to park vegetation from the pilot program.
From our initial evaluation, it looks like everything is going to come back fine, he said, estimating that recovery would take four to six weeks. Were overcompensating a little bit, doing some extra fertilizing and spraying.
Bieter and the City Council have directed the department to explore new design standards, including alternative types of vegetation and landscaping that require less water and overall maintenance.
Holloway said the department was already putting in drought-resistant vegetation that needs less water at some of the citys newest parks. He said staff would look at retrofitting at existing parks where possible.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413