Six coyotes are roaming the fields of Voice of America Park.
But these coyotes are there for the park’s protection. MetroParks officials are going as far to say, these coyotes are park “employees’’.
“We initially felt that we were on a wild goose chase trying to obtain the correct employees for these newly created positions as we were looking for a very specialized skill set,” said Tony Montgomery, MetroParks supervisor of operations. “We needed a team that could work independently or as a unit to keep eyes on the fields at all times as they mature.”These six employees are plastic and have to be moved by park staff. However, their job duties are to protecting the park’s $3 million project, which includes 22 new multipurpose natural grass athletic fields.
The fields, which border Butler-Warren and Tylersville roads, are expected to be available for use by September 2014. That’s if these coyotes can scare away the Canadian Geese from eating the grass seed.
“Right now is an important time for the grass to grow and the geese love the grass seed,” said Josh Torbeck, park manager of Voice of America. “We are having a problem with them eating the grass seed, so we are hoping this is the solution to the problem.”
Other solutions discussed by park officials included noise guns, dog trainers and border collies. But, in the end, they decided that the coyotes would be the most cost effective – at $99 a pup.
“This (coyote) team will work throughout the park, freeing existing staff to focus on other activities,” said Jason Shamblin, MetroParks deputy director. “Although they may be slow moving, they are very effective and they work cheap.”
The coyote crew began work this week. A release from the park system said that it would assess and share the performance of each new employee on its Facebook page.
There is a lot of pressure on these plastic coyotes. Based on a study conducted by AECOM Technical Services in Chicago, the 22 multipurpose fields are projected to bring in $20 million in indirect and direct spending, 200,000 new hotel room requests and 21,000 participants annually by 2019.
“The fields are very important to the park. It is going to be a focal point for the whole community,” Torbeck said. “Not only are we going to serve the community with practices and games, but we will also have tournaments that will have a regional and, hopefully, a national draw.
“Our goal is to make these the premier fields in the area.”
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