Brookside Park, the original organic park, will be kept in the organic program after a Durango City Council decision Tuesday night.
Brookside Park and Riverview Sports Complex were taken out of the program last fall during the city budgeting process.
Councilor Dick White suggested Brookside Park continue to be managed organically because it is so close to a stream and its organic reputation.
“It was chosen as the place to start. We now know we could have done that differently and more successfully,” he said.
Brookside Park was slated to be pulled from the program this spring because of what some city councilors called an infestation of weeds.
“We took Brookside out because it was so sick,” Marbury said.
The park has been organic since 2008. But in the beginning, it did not receive the intense organic management recommended for parks coming off a regimen of chemical fertilizers and herbicides, which led to weeds, said Chip Osborne, a city consultant.
About 14 months ago, the city began managing nine parks, including Brookside, using organic fertilizers and herbicides after an agreement with Organically Managed Parks Durango, a group formed by residents supporting natural treatments. The group dropped a proposed ballot initiative to limit synthetic products after the City Council signed a resolution to manage the selected parks organically for three years.
Organic advocate Katrina Blair said she was pleased the council reversed its division on Brookside.
“We’re very, very happy to have Brookside back in the organic program,” she said.
As part of the decision, Osborne recommended aggressive treatments to eliminate the weeds. He prescribed organic herbicide treatments this spring to bring the park back to good health. If that is not successful, he suggested a one-time treatment of 2, 4-D, a conventional herbicide.
“I will agree Brookside Park can be put back in to the system, as long as Brookside Park will be the park that I have known,” Marbury said.
If she had not agreed, the decision likely would have been taken to a formal vote at a later meeting.
Riverview will be managed conventionally starting in the spring because concerned parents thought the turf was not as smooth and safe for soccer as it had been in the past, said Councilor Keith Brant. Taking it out of the program was also projected to save the city $39,000 in material costs and $9,000 in labor.
The advocates argue that the council is not taking into account the health risk posed by synthetic herbicides.
“We’re going to continue to educate our community and our city officials of the true cost of conventional practices,” Blair said.