After complying with residents’ request to use organic weed treatments in Boyle Park two years ago, the Mancos town board is considering a switch to traditional pesticides.
During a board workshop on Wednesday, Mancos parks manager Terry Jennings took the trustees on a tour of Boyle Park, which adjoins Town Hall, to show them the many weeds growing in the fields around the playground. Mayor Pro Tem Fred Brooks said the town decided to use all organic pesticides in the park after several residents requested it in 2016. But Jennings said some parts of the park have become overrun with weeds since then, including several species on the Montezuma County noxious weeds list.
He said most of the certified organic weed treatments that effectively kill those plants also kill the grass, which makes them impractical for spraying. The town has tried several different all-natural methods to cut down on weeds, but Jennings said none have worked very well.
“We have so many weeds now, I think it may take us a couple years to get ... back where we want to be,” he said.
When the town first decided to switch to organic treatments, several people volunteered to pull weeds at the park once a week, Jennings said, but their numbers have thinned since then. Trustee Cindy Simpson pointed out that it would take several hours to pull all the weeds in the park by hand, even with dozens of people.
Jennings gave board members an estimate of what it would cost the town to continue organic treatments at the park next year. A 100 percent organic lawn care program would cost about $14,000, he estimated, while an organic-based combination would cost about $8,000. Interim town administrator Heather Alvarez said the town usually budgets about $5,000 per year for park maintenance. On the other hand, Jennings estimated a traditional weed and feed fertilizer would cost about $2,000. But he added that his traditional estimate didn’t include the cost of a contractor to maintain the park, while the organic estimates did.
Several board members said they liked the idea of using organic pesticides in the park, but they didn’t believe it would be practical to continue the program.
“If we got it under control, we possibly could do something, but we’ve got to get rid of it first,” Mayor Queenie Barz said. “And I can tell you right now, $14,000, (compared) to $2,000, doesn’t fit into my budget.”
Alvarez asked Jennings to get more detailed estimates on the cost of organic and traditional weed treatments and bring them to a future board meeting.
“We just wanted to give you guys this so that you have a couple of months to research,” she told the board members.
She said the board would probably begin discussing solutions to the park’s weed problem in February or March.
During the workshop, Alvarez announced she would be gone for the board’s next public meeting on Nov. 8, and agreed to put an item on the agenda that would cancel the board’s Nov. 22 meeting, since it is the day before Thanksgiving.