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Parks, Trails, and Open Space O&M

Parks and open space require a different type of operations and maintenance than single benefit flood infrastructure. Parks and open space are designed for a variety of purposes, and amenities such as lighting, restrooms, and seating are necessary for some uses. Maintaining a park is more expensive than maintaining typical flood infrastructure; however, parks and open space provide multiple benefits to communities and natural systems through built amenities as well as programming (e.g., outdoor classrooms and public gathering spaces). The range of skills needed is often varied as well, ranging from native vegetation experts to recreation field care to janitorial staff and facility operators.

Parks, trails, and open space operations and maintenance includes elements such as:

Trails, Bikeways, Paths, and Pavements

Primary operations and maintenance activities for trails and various surfaces includes regular inspection and repair as needed. Pavements should be inspected for excessive cracking, uneven settlement, uplift from adjacent tree roots, vandalism, and potholes. Guardrails and fences along trails should be regularly inspected for vandalism and weathering.

Linear recreation.
LA County Public Works, 2018.
Restrooms and Facility Maintenance

The size and type of the River Pavilion or other park facilities will determine the level of operations and maintenance required. For more details about the approximate size and scope of these different types of facilities, refer to Appendix Volume I: Design Guidelines. Larger facilities such as Rest and Gathering Pavilions should be staffed and under continuous surveillance during open hours and, in some cases, around the clock. These facilities should be regularly surveyed for vandalism and be cleaned on a consistently.

Restroom and facilities.
LA County Public Works, 2018.
Ecology, Habitat, and Planting

Operations and maintenance for native plantings varies from many typical parks or developments. Staff should be trained in the maintenance of LA River native plants and habitats. Overall maintenance for habitats and plantings includes watering, pruning, weeding, trimming, and many other tasks. The suppression of invasive species may require continuous care. Irrigation systems and schedules should be designed and deployed to match the needs of the plants, and irrigation equipment should be routinely inspected for broken and dysfunctional pipes and heads. Replacement planting should be budgeted and installed as needed. Long-term adaptive management practices are needed for the development of functioning ecosystems. Establishing these ecosystems includes practices such as allowing organic matter build-up and dense vegetation where possible. It is critical to monitor installed projects to plan for long-term ecosystem health.

Native planting areas along the LA River.
LA County Public Works, 2018.
Recreation Amenities

Recreation amenities can vary from sports fields to playgrounds and require specialized maintenance depending on the type of amenity installed. These amenities should be routinely inspected for vandalism and weathering and should be repaired as necessary. Depending on the use and size of the amenity, continuous surveillance during open hours should be provided.

Recreation facilities at DeForest Park.
OLIN, 2018.
Environmental Graphics and Wayfinding

All projects should provide a schedule of environmental graphics materials for all informational elements on site. Operations and maintenance for environmental graphics includes regularly inspecting for any missing or vandalized signs or other environmental graphics. Clear repair and replacement procedures are needed to ensure legibility of signs and environmental graphics over time.

Environmental graphics along the LA River.
LA County Public Works, 2018.
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