Nature not making parks tasks easier

You’ve probably long forgotten the early snowfall last November, but the effects of that storm have

You’ve probably long forgotten the early snowfall last November, but the effects of that storm have come back to haunt the city parks crew.

They’re raking up the leaves that they couldn’t get to because of the early snow last year. At the same time, the late snowfall last week is slowing down their progress on their spring tasks.

All in all, it’s going to be a long month for the parks crew.

“We were up in Fairview last week to remove the leaves and then it snowed on us the next day,” parks maintenance crew supervisor William Macejka said. “We’re a little bit behind, considering we had such an early snow in November and then last week.”

While they try to pick up leaves and test the soggy ground to see when they can get their trucks across the grass, ice and snow is still visible on A-diamond, one of the baseball fields at Central Park.

The other fields have thawed, but they’re still much too wet to use. In Steinmetz Park, a lake has formed along half the fields. Others are in similar shape, Macejka said.

“We need a week of nice 60-degree days with some nice wind to dry out the fields,” he said. “We got the breezes today but not the sun.”

He’s now hoping the city’s playing fields will open for baseball late next week — three weeks later than the Union College team had hoped. They had booked the field beginning last week. While that may have been wishful thinking, considering the weather this winter, Macejka said the fields typically open around now.

“Looks like it’s going to be a little later than usual,” Macejka said. “It’s the Northeast. We’ve got to be patient and hopefully Mother Nature will turn for us.”

Once the grass dries, crews will also do their annual spring inspection to see how much equipment was destroyed over the winter.

“It’s usually about this time of year we go around and evaluate what we have left in the parks,” Macejka said.

Steinmetz Park is already on his list. It will finally get rims — and nets — for its basketball backboards. Rims get broken off a backboard when players hang on them to dunk the ball, and the park hasn’t had rims on any of its backboards for at least a year.

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