Len Rutter Park spruced up

From left: George Taylor (Roodepoort Parkrun Director), Denise Pretorius (Chairperson Florida Block Watch) and Fanie Naudé (Vice Chairperson). Photos: Adéle Bloem

Len Rutter Park in Florida Park is famous for its weekly park runs, which are usually fun and safe outings for everyone involved – but currently that is not the case.

According to George Taylor, who is the Run Director of the Roodepoort Parkrun, the long grass in the park is a cause for concern. “With the exceptionally high rainfall we experienced recently and the seasonal backlog at the Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, the grass at the park – especially on the park run route – has grown very long. This poses a great risk for the runners and walkers, as well as the students from Unisa that use the paths through the park to get to the university,” he said.

George said that he understands that JCPZ is inundated with the maintenance of all the parks, and although Len Rutter Park’s grass is cut four times a year, it is not enough. “If they (JCPZ) want to maintain these parks successfully, they would need to change their whole grass-cutting schedule and get more equipment in order to make sure they can keep up with the maintenance. During winter, the park always look beautiful, but when summer comes it is overgrown and looks unkempt resulting in residents not wanting to visit the park for various reasons,” he said.

George Taylor overseeing the grass cutting at Len Rutter Park.

George Taylor overseeing the grass cutting at Len Rutter Park.

In an attempt to assist JCPZ with maintaining the park, especially the park run routes, George and a group of volunteers came together and formed a group called Friends of Len Rutter. “This group – consisting of mostly community members – came together and decided we needed to do something to ensure our runners and walkers are kept safe. M and P Recycling donated money in order for us to get some people here to cut the grass for us. Ebrahim Hoosen from Flomotion kindly donated some of his grass cutting equipment and employees to assist with this,” George said.

Denise Pretorius, the chairperson of the Florida Block Watch, was also involved in this project, and said, “George has done a lot of work to promote Len Rutter Park. When the park run started, there were about 42 runners – now there are more than 1 000 who participate weekly. If the grass is not kept short, the safety of the participants cannot be guaranteed,” she said.

George said that he did not want to put JCPZ in a bad light as he understands they have a lot of work and try their best to do it. “I just feel that we need to do something from our side as well, otherwise the park will lose all its visitors and the park run may stop completely. I would like to encourage the community to become involved. If you can help in any way – either with donations or your time – please contact me on 082 881 2862,” he concluded.

Watch the grass cutting in action here.

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Adéle Bloem

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