Mayor Seeks to Keep City Spruced Up with "Mowtown" Program

Wednesday, April 23, 2008 - 11:09am

Madison - Mayor Dave Cieslewicz today announced the creation of Mowtown, a new multi-agency program to coordinate and enhance the appearance of city parks, medians and other areas. The program is being unveiled at the onset of the spring growing season.

"Mowtown is part of our ongoing effort to provide excellent basic city services," said Mayor Cieslewicz. "We want to have a community that looks beautiful and well cared-for, just as we take care of our own homes and businesses. We also want to have a community that makes a great first impression on visitors, and few things are more visible than the grass in our parks, medians and boulevards."

Elements of the Mowtown initiative include:

- Hiring seasonal workers earlier in the spring, so adequate staff are available when the grass starts growing.

- Starting mowing operations earlier, to make sure that the City is staying ahead of the issue.

- Investment in native plantings in medians, which over time require less maintenance than turf.

- Installation of GPS technology on mowing equipment, so it can be used as effectively as possible.

- Acquisition of several new pieces of modern mowing equipment.

- Creation of the Mowtown website ( to help educate the public about the issue, with a Frequently Asked Questions section and more.

Several City of Madison agencies are responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of areas ranging from 270 parks covering 5400 acres, 871 medians, and street boulevards. The Parks Division, Streets Division and City Engineering all play roles in mowing, weed removal, maintenance of boulevard plantings and general upkeep of these areas.

The City is also undertaking a number of initiatives to address environmental quality and sustainability in relation to mowing and turf management. For a number of years, the City has adhered to a no-pesticide policy for most of its park space. This reduces pesticide runoff into the lakes, and reduces exposure for people and their pets. City staff will also be making sure that grass clippings are not blown into the street where they could enter the storm sewer and ultimately the lakes.

The City also maintains conservation parks (which seek to restore areas to their native state) and "low mow" park areas to reduce fuel costs, energy usage, and pollution from mowing activities.

  • George Twigg, (608) 266-4611