Someobody's Gotta Do It: Parks Department Mowers

If keeping up with your yard is a challenge imagine having to maintain 39 parks and over 200 flower beds and in he middle of a drought!

The Wichita Falls Parks Department crews really have their work cut out for them!

KFDX caught up with some of them and as photojournalist Jake VanDonge and Gwyn Bevel found out it takes quite a few moving parts to keep the city looking its best.

Terry Points- Wichita Falls Parks Department Superintendent says, "We take a lot of pride in what we do and we want people to remember Wichita Falls for something that looks really nice."

Terry Points says his crew of around 70 people, this time of year, has a "can do" attitude, which is good since mowing over one thousand vacant lots is just part of the work that has to get done.

Points:  "Usually the grass, when we get them, is sometimes four foot deep and we have to go in and clean them up and make them where people can actually live next door to them.  You don't want that big tall grass and snakes and everything coming up into your house, so we try to maintain them the best we can."

One crew member, Dustin Pilkington, says, "I get to mow with these big ol' mowers and I am not stuck inside."

There are a lot of ups and downs and arounds in Dusting Pilkington's job he is part of the crew that mows over 1500 acres every week.

Pilkington:  "Everyday is a busy day, there is never an off day."

Since weeds thrive, even in the drought, sometimes the city's crew has to roll up high to knock them down.

Pilkington:  "It will climb straight up a hill... you don't have to worry about nothing!"

Nothing to worry about, that is unless Gwyn Bevel is at the controls.

Dustin says, "This little switch right here is your brake."

Gwyn says, "That's my brake!?!"

Dustin replies, "Yeah that is your emergency brake."

Gwyn questions, "Is that engaged?"

Then Gwyn was off, well sort of, in her short run or attempt to run a mower it didn't take her long to figure out how these guys go through several gallons of water each day.

Pilkington:  "It gets pretty hot out here especially you know this past week it has been 100 degrees.  So lots of sunscreen and water."

And plenty of shade from the city's 20,000 plus trees.

Points:  "They have to deal with the heat no matter what.  They know the job is hot.  We work on the buddy system.  Everybody watches everybody.  You know if you see a guy starting to get dizzy or pale you know we always get over and get him under a shade tree and you know get him some water and cool him down."

Pilkington:  "I love this job, it is wonderful.  The people are great and you get to be outside all day.  It is just a good job all around."

Points:  "My main goal is with me and all of my guys and like I said I have the best staff in the World is to make Wichita Falls the best looking town in Texas."

Some of you may have that neighbor who is not the greatest at maintaining their landscape, this parks crew is the one that rolls out and mows those as well.

They are known as complain lots and they mow hundreds of them!

They also maintain all of the municipal properties, such as cutting grass at the airport, police station and cemeteries.

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