Palm Coast - You rarely see them out and about. The 22 men and women who maintain our parks, trails and athletic fields often move unseen and modestly as they mow, weed, spray, rake and clean. Guided by maintaining the highest standards of care and sanitation, the Parks & Recreation Maintenance crews give their very best effort every single day. Their presence may be inconspicuous, but their work is not.

Let's give a round of applause to celebrate these diligent teams who make the community so proud of our public open space. Surveys consistently point to parks and recreational amenities as a main reason many people moved to Palm Coast. Their appearance and cleanliness is important. Whether before, during or after the community shut down because of the coronavirus, spending time in our parks makes us happy. We have the maintenance staff to thank for that pride. 

The Parks Maintenance teams are divided into two divisions: one provides upkeep for all parks and trails and the other covers athletic fields. They're not only responsible for all the greenery - they also repair and replace broken fences, gates and bridges. They prepare soccer, flag football and baseball fields for families to enjoy their games. They empty trash cans and cleanse restroom sinks and toilets. They routinely inspect playgrounds and repair them for the safety and well-being of the community's children. And they often stop and say hi to residents along their routes, offering assistance and encouragement with a smile.

"Our public parks provide some of the only outdoor open space that families have available, especially during the pandemic," said James Hirst, Parks and Recreation's Outdoor Recreation Manager. "It's our duty and our honor to serve our residents by ensuring that parks and fields flourish and feel fresh."

Philip Cangialosi is one young Palm Coast resident who is grateful for the helpful attention from the Parks crew. Cangialosi is creating an Eagle Scout project to plant 156 flowers and shrubs on 62 cubic feet of land in front of the Palm Coast Historical Society in Holland Park. To help him complete his project, staff is installing an irrigation system and providing tools and manual support that may be needed. They'll also assist with maintaining the plantings. Cangialosi wants to enhance the façade of one of Palm Coast's most meaningful organizations, a location that was recently adorned with Garfield, one of the Palm Coast Arts Foundation's magnificent trail turtles.     

So remember, when walking and biking along parks and trails or playing ball on the fields, the workforce representing the Parks and Recreation Maintenance Department has silently and efficiently been toiling nearby. You may not see them too much, but it's great to know they care. True hidden treasures.