By Caroline Smith

Nearly every town and city across the country has open spaces and parks managed by municipal or county staff. Dedicated rangers, maintenance crews, and administrative staff need a way to manage resources, track requests and requests, and keep these places safe and clean.

In New Haven, CT, Rebecca Bombero serves as the Director of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Trees. New Haven is 21 square miles and 20% of the land area is in her domain — including all the trees on city streets. But she has a limited budget, so she needs robust, smart tools. That’s why Bombero manages her staff and park property with SeeClickFix.

Need

Solution

Citizen Engagement and Reporting

Bombero manages over 100 open spaces ranging in size from blocks to sections of state parks, for a total 2,200 acres, and a her seasonally fluctuating staff of 27 - 60. Bombero and the department primarily use SeeClickFix to collect reported requests from residents about trees, trash, broken features, graffiti, and even overgrown paths. These notifications cut down on the amount of time rangers have to walk trails to ensure proper operation, the city residents become her eyes and ears.

Rangers spent time checking trails for requests, it took a lot of time and energy to do a check, then return to the station to get the tools needed to fix a found problem. Using the eyes and ears of citizens walking the trails meant changing what rangers did from park checks to park maintenance.

A pothole is easy. A streetlight is easy. A parks request can be anything. You know we get ‘there’s trash in East Rock Park’ so, great, where? That mapping an request saves us. Being able to ask, ‘hey David, where on the white trail?’ keeps us from going on a wild goose chase. ~ Becky Bombero, City of New Haven Parks Department Director

Several volunteers gathering in a New Haven park to work on fixing small damages and other requests.

We have everything, from beach to forest, gardens to cliffs and rivers. Managing that much diverse land is a challenge. SeeClickFix helps with keeping these areas clean, leveraging the community and with staff spread across the city, it keeps us up to date from department office to range station to being on the trail. All of our assets are linked to a lot of data and it’s hard to manage that, impossible to do it on paper or without tools. ~ Becky Bombero, City of New Haven Parks Department Director

Garnering citizen input through SeeClickFix has expanded the ability of the New Haven Parks Department to leverage information about volunteer opportunities and spread information about events.

The neighborhood “Friends of Parks” groups will flag requests for the Parks Department during their park clean up days about larger maintenance requests, and the Department is using SeeClickFix reports to target areas that need park cleanups. With numerous reports, it becomes easy to see hot spot areas of need and point those volunteers in that direction or towards those trails. In addition, the department also uses SeeClickFix to let residents know about events in these parks including private uses, summer camps, and festivals. Recently, Bombero has increasingly relied on SeeClickFix to help crowdsource new ideas to her to make her department better and provide programming that citizens want.

Work Order Management / Internal reporting

Bombero also uses SeeClickFix for internal reporting and tracking, work order management, supervising workflow, managing tickets. Staff at the maintenance department manage all the calls that come in, and enter that data into the same system. The call taker interface ensure the same uniform data is recorded on all requests and connects phone callers to requests by gather emails – those residents get updates along the way as the problem is being addressed.

[SeeClickFix] launched private requests this week and I’m very excited about that. Internal commenting helps keep us straight. We use some secondary questions, make sure information is collected that we need to solve a problem. A pothole is easy. A streetlight is easy. A parks request can be anything. You know we get ‘there’s trash in East Rock Park’ so, GREAT, where? That mapping saves us. Being able to ask, ‘Hey David, where on the white trail?’ keeps us from going on a wild goose chase. ~ Becky Bombero, City of New Haven Parks Department Director

A snapshot of the list of requests from the New Haven Parks Department desktop app.

If it’s categorized as a parks request, if it’s in a park, they will receive the request get it. And they work very well with other departments. If it’s in another department’s purview, Bombero can have confidence they will do what they need to do. Internal commenting makes that audit trail a little easier.

The line between school property and park property often blurs when we have fields next to schools, sometimes there is confusion over who maintains that. SeeClickFix helps clear up those spaces and creates internal understandings of what to do and by whom. ~ Becky Bombero, City of New Haven Parks Department Director

A map view of all the different reported requests in a New Haven park.

In addition, Bombero is moving towards layering each park so they can track these areas well. Currently, they use the geographic boundaries of neighborhoods and alder districts to help show the alders (city council members) what’s going on.

SeeClickFix Made in
New Haven