Group salutes ‘playful' cities

KaBOOM!—a national nonprofit that aims to promote playgrounds, parks, and other outdoor recreation spaces—has designated 31 cities to its Playful City USA program. The honored cities demonstrate five commitments: creating local recreation-related commissions, crafting an annual action plan, auditing recreational space, outlining financial investments, and proclaiming an annual “play day.” The 31 cities are eligible to apply for grants of up to $25,000 to support their recreational initiatives. For more information or to apply, visit www.kaboom.org.

Former private-hauler rep jailed

Anthony Luciano, former sales representative for Danbury, Conn.-based Automated Waste Disposal, has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison as part of an ongoing probe by federal authorities into price fixing. Luciano, who worked for the company from June 2004 to March 2006, admitted to conspiring with other employees to force local businesses to pay inflated prices.

Group applauds grand grounds

Beautiful parks and grounds are possible even on a limited budget.

The Professional Grounds Management Society's 2007 Green Star Awards salute grounds maintained with a high degree of excellence, with the Grand Award carrying the highest designation of achievement. This year, the group recognized the city of Milwaukee with an Honor Award, for its eye-catching work on boulevards throughout the city.

“This honor recognizes the city's commitment to enriching citizens' lives through green spaces,” says city landscape designer Scott Baran.

Other honorees:

  • Henderson, Nev.: Grand Award (grounds maintenance at Mission Hills Park); two Honor Awards (landscape work at Anthem Hills Park, athletic fields at Arroyo Grande Complex)
  • Bell Cardens, Calif.: two Honor Awards (athletic fields at Bell Gardens Sports Center, Golf Course award for Bell Gardens Golf Course)
  • Farmers Branch, Texas: Honor Award (grounds maintenance at Don Showman Park)

For more information or to view winning projects, visit www.pgms.org.

Sidewalk kicks disabled to the curb

Construction projects in public areas have to meet Americans With Disabilities Act accessibility requirements. However, one activist claims a contractor frequently used by the city of Boston often leaves handicapped citizens out in the cold.

According to John Kelly, in September a contractor dug up a section of sidewalk on Nor-way Street, marked it with some strips of yellow caution tape, then left the site untouched for more than a week. The move forced pedestrians to step into the street and walk against traffic, while citizens in wheelchairs or motorized carts were forced to head to the far end of the street to a ramp, then all the way back down the street.

After being alerted to the problem by a Boston Globe reporter, public works chief Dennis Royer sent an inspector to rectify the situation. In addition, the city vowed to leverage penalties against any contractors out of compliance on city-funded projects.