November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 66

Operations
Integrating Innovation
CMMS and GIS are taking park maintenance to the next level
By Amy Kapp

W

hen North Myrtle Beach Parks and Recreation Department staff
set out to create a 160-acre sports complex several years ago, they
began the development of what Public Grounds Superintendent
Jim Grainger calls the " mother of all parks " in their South Carolina community. In addition to serving as a major revenue generator, with 14 sports fields, a
veterans' plaza, an amphitheater and a zip line, the complex, when complete,
will more than double the city's parkland.
Daunting? Maybe. But Grainger
had an advantage that would prove
critical to front-end planning: information. For years, North Myrtle
Beach had been using a computerized
maintenance management system
(CMMS) called MainTrac to record
and monitor work orders, equipment
use, spending and man hours in the
city's nine parks and facilities.
" You're taking a piece of raw material and asking, 'What are the maintenance expectations?' " he says, speaking of the planning for the complex.
" We could go back to our historical

data and say, 'In order to achieve those
expectations, we know we'll need this
many resources, whether they be human, equipment or material. Are we
willing to commit that dollar amount
to get that level of maintenance, or do
we have to limit our expectations because of the resources we have?' "
Park and recreation agencies that
integrated technology advances into
their operations before or during
the American economic recession
- when maintenance was hard-hit
in the U.S. - affirm the powerful
role they've played in resource man-

North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, keeps track of all maintenance work through a
computerized maintenance management system, making it easier to keep facilities
like this 20-acre Central Park green and inviting to the public.

64

Parks & Recreation

| N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 3 | W W W. N R PA . O R G

agement and development. Now,
as America moves toward recovery,
and with the increased availability
of online computerized maintenance
tracking systems, GIS tools and smart
devices, agencies are exploring new
and cutting-edge ways to streamline
their services and replicate the knowledge and efficiency gains like those
experienced in North Myrtle Beach.
Tracking in the New Digital Age
(Good) Data is Power
Grainger, a regent for the NRPA
Park and Recreation Maintenance
Management School, believes it's the
ability to justify - with credibility
- and efficiently manage scarce resources that make a CMMS a powerful tool. But he cautions that to be
effective, staff must be familiar with
the tool and understand the what,
and why, for each piece of data.
" I tell my staff, 'Here's the type of
information I'm pulling, and here's
how specific you need to be,' " he
states. " When you are doing a routine thing, there can be a tendency to
punch in the same thing you did last
time. But nuances are important. "
In Florida, Martin County Parks
and Recreation Deputy Director
Randy Phillips and Parks Superintendent Mark Lynch, vice chair and
chair of the NRPA Maintenance
Management School, affirm data integrity, and therefore the training of
front-line workers, as a priority when
integrating technology.
" You have to create buy-in from
your line staff and demonstrate



November 2013 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of November 2013 - Parks & Recreation

November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 1
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 2
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 3
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 4
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 5
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 6
November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 7
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November 2013 - Parks & Recreation - 28
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