BOISE -- A pilot program is ending early in Boise parks after the city received a flood of concerns over park conditions.
Bob and Carrie Roberts come to Fairview Park every couple weeks with their young daughter but have noticed that it's not looking like it used to.
"We've noticed off and on, over the past several weeks that the grass is browning up," said Bob Roberts. "Whereas in past years it's always been so lush and green."
It was all part of a Boise Parks and Recreation pilot program started in April. Mowing, weeding, and other maintenance was reduced by about 25 percent at six Boise parks, including Fairview Park.
"We just assumed with the hot weather, it's probably hard to keep everything green," said Carrie Roberts.
"I assumed it was cost-related," said Bob Roberts.
It was a little of both. Doug Holloway, the interim Director of Boise's Parks and Recreation Department, says the program would've helped the city save $340,000 annually, if they used it across the city.
"We have some challenging budget times ahead in the next couple of fiscal years," said Holloway.
But it won't be used across the city. Holloway says the whole point of the program was to gauge reaction from park users, and the department heard plenty about brown spots, knee-high weeds, and the parks generally turning into eyesores.
He sums up the reaction like this, "We really want to see the parks back to what they should be."
The program was supposed to run six months. But they stopped last week after just 4 months because of the amount of reaction.
"They are not used to seeing something like this in their parks," said Holloway. "Frankly, we've never done anything like this before."
And Holloway says the city has no plans to do anything like this again. Although he believes budget writers might have to cut elsewhere.
"We do believe there are going to be some challenges there," said Holloway. "We have not discussed how those challenges might affect parks and recreation."
Holloway says something they've also started doing and will continue to do to save costs is use more drought-resistant native plants in the parks. He says that saves maintenance and watering costs.
Again, the pilot program has been stopped and maintenance is back to normal levels. But Holloway says it will take four to six weeks for the appearance of the parks to come back.