A new parks project that is being planned by Pittsburgh city officials is set to allocate almost $1 million to its various elements, one of which is the creation of a city park ranger.
The position has not yet been confirmed but Mike Gable, the City of Pittsburgh Public Works director, pitched a presentation to the county’s Regional Asset District board this week that demonstrated the reasons that the city is in need of several full time park rangers.
Several city potential city projects are slated to be voted on in the coming months, many of which are directly related to the enhancement of the park system.
The city has received requests from contractors for playground renovation, operating expenses, capital projects, and the hiring of full time park rangers. It is believed, however, that if the park ranger positions are approved they will be funded with existing operational funds as opposed to new funding sources.
Additionally, there has been some controversy that has arisen in recent weeks about the possible hiring of park rangers. Some community leaders and law enforcement officials have expressed concern about the park ranger positions because such positions would replace the need for police officers who are currently assigned to patrols in the county parks.
While the police departments patrol the city parks, there are no personnel who are permanently stationed in them and the park ranger positions would fill what city officials believe is a long overdue need.
As important as the need for park rangers is believed to be among certain city officials, there are other priorities that are deemed more important such as plans to replace worn out shelters and other park edifices as well as the installation of a new eco-friendly flush-toilet system in the public restrooms throughout the park system.