City crews work hard to maintain "Park City"
“It is not enough just to give our children a playground. We must provide them and their parents a secure, clean location with safe modern play structures,” said Deputy Director John Cottell, Jr. of the Public Facilities Division, City of Bridgeport, Conn. The City of Bridgeport has a formal playground-cleaning schedule to assure that there is no detrimental litter or debris that could injure any of the children using the city’s many recreational facilities. They use giant self-propelled vacuum cleaning machines called MADVAC 101s, which have proven to be very valuable tools.
The City of Bridgeport, a coastal community located on the shores of Long Island Sound in southwestern Connecticut, is the most densely populated city in the Nutmeg State. It is known as the Park City because of its 1,354 acres of parkland within its 19-plus square mile territory. The city offers a wide range of amenities to its residents and visitors. With a population of about 140,000, Bridgeport has 47 parks in 16 neighborhoods, of which 14 have formal playgrounds.
“Our city parks range in size from a fraction of an acre up to the 370 acres Seaside Park. Within those, we probably have 25 formal playgrounds,” said Parks & Recreation Director Phil Handy. Most of these 25 playgrounds are specifically designed for children ages five to 12. There are a few suitable for toddlers under the age of five. For those, they post that a parent or other adult be present with the child.
“One man riding on the MADVAC 101 can do the work of what it used to take up to six men doing the cleanup by hand,” said Cottell. The operator simply controls a large diameter suction hose, which picks up wastepaper, plastic, discarded Styrofoam cups, trays and containers, plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans and even broken glass. “It’s a much more efficient and cost-saving method of doing more with less,” he added.
The MADVAC 101 is a compact (only 4 feet wide), motorized, large volume vacuum trash collection device that is operated by one person. It is highly maneuverable with power steering and an almost zero turning radius. It can easily work in and around play structures without damage. It comes in both a three and four-wheel version. The machine comes with either a 28HP Kubota liquid cooled diesel engine or a 25HP Kohler gasoline engine. The MADVAC 101 uses either a reusable or disposable plastic bag with a 30-second replacement time. Its self-compacting system condenses material without clogging. The hydraulically operated centrifugal fan is located at the bottom of the container permitting straight through suction.
“The new city administration, under the direction of Mayor John Fabrizo, is trying to provide our citizens more service for their tax dollars. It is interesting to note that Bridgeport has also had two consecutive tax reductions in a row for the first time in city history,” concluded Cottell.