Dear Action Line: The grass in the parks and baseball fields throughout the city, and at the fairgrounds, look like they may have been hit hard by COVID-19. Just curious as to if the sprinklers were put in quarantine during this COVID-19 pandemic too? – A Reader
Dear Reader: There are two strains of grass in question here: city grass and county grass.
City grass needs constant watering, attention and lots of flattery because it has a fragile ego; city grass wants to look pretty. County grass doesn’t need or want anything from anyone, ever, because it’s tough, period, end of story; getting water is just a sign of being soft.
Cathy Metz, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the irrigation is running and the sprinklers are maintaining their social distancing.
“With the reduction in parks staffing levels, it is taking a little longer for crews to address irrigation repair and maintenance issues,” she said.
“The city received minimal moisture this winter, and it has been a dry spring,” she said. “Perhaps the spring showers are practicing social distancing.”
Megan Graham, public affairs officer for La Plata County, was asked if county grass is basically like Shrek. And if so, does that make city grass like a Kardashian?
“County grass is resilient like Shrek,” she corrected. “While it’s true that there was a delay in watering our showcase ballfields at the fairgrounds, all is well in the land now.”
Graham said the fields have greened up beautifully. “This is because the county, in its infinite and always forward-looking wisdom, planted drought-resistant grass back in the day. And now, after a couple weeks of water, those fields are green and vibrant as can be. Like Shrek.”
Graham used to write Action Line. The things she misses most include, “Not having to understand or try to explain government finance, getting answers to what inquiring minds want to know and everyone making fun of my mug shot.”
Dear Action Line: What’s going on with Parks and Recreation not taking care of the picnic area at Dallabetta Park? I was there the Tuesday after Memorial Day and not only was the restroom still locked, the concrete pad under the first picnic table was DISGUSTING. It looked like someone had lost their lunch under the table among other less reprehensible spatterings. Haviland Lake Campground is open along with their bathrooms, why not Dallabetta? During this trying time, we want to play and picnic outdoors. We need these places clean and facilities open. – Wants to Recreate
Dear Recreate: Cathy Metz, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said the restrooms at Dallabetta Park were opened May 22.
“The restrooms are opened early in the morning and closed each night before dark to avoid vandalism,” she said. “While the Parks and Recreation Department cleans the parks each day, it is certainly possible that someone left disgusting items on the concrete pad under the picnic table after the facility was cleaned that day.”
She said the parks department will follow up to make sure Dallabetta Park is clean and ready for public use. She was not aware of any connection between Dallabetta Park and Haviland Lake Campground, but did say Dallabetta Park was donated to the city by the Dallabetta family.
Metz was asked why so many questions involve the Parks and Recreation Department.
“Because people love parks in Durango!” she said.
That’s the kind of unbridled enthusiasm for government services promoted by Leslie Knope, the lead character in the television show “Parks and Recreation.” Metz was asked if she watches the show and what character best represents her. She does not watch the show.
“It feels too much like work,” she said.
Action Line asked Megan Graham, the public affairs officer for La Plata County, if she watches “Parks and Recreation,” and if she identifies with any of the characters. She said she is a huge fan of “Parks and Recreation.”
“I’m a huge fan,” she said. “Probably, I identify most closely with Andy.”
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line is pretty sure next week is “Refer to Yourself in the Third Person While at Work” week.