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Spring-Summer Readiness Operations

The Department of General Services (DGS) performs Spring Summer readiness operations annually to reduce the likelihood of parks and other resources from being taken off-line for mid-season repairs.

In anticipation of outdoor activity at District owned public spaces, the Facilities Maintenance Division performs this annual preventative maintenance operation to address maintenance issues, conduct facility checks and inspections at community gardens, playgrounds, pool houses, parks, and dog parks across the District before the heaviest season of use to provide fun and safe recreational and education environments for residents and visitors to enjoy springtime activities.

DGS is responsible for maintaining 55 parks, 39 community gardens, 13 indoor pools, 22 outdoor pools, 33 spray parks, 12 dog parks, and more than 130 fields and playgrounds. This work is performed by DGS on behalf of the District and the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR).

This readiness operation and its activities begin in March and are completed before Memorial Day in May, pending no constraints.

Below is an overview of each facility-related program within the seasonal operation.


How are the water locations prioritized?

DGS is responsible for maintaining 55 parks, 39 community gardens, 13 indoor pools, 22 outdoor pools, 33 spray parks, 12 dog parks, and more than 130 fields and playgrounds.

DGS begins this process by continuously monitoring weather conditions starting in March.

The prioritization of water source activation is based on both the timing of water needed for specific spring activities and the determination that the weather is consistently above 32 degrees, which is above freezing. DGS is now in the process of repairing some water sources.

Please see the water activation process below:

1.Start with Community Gardens

  • Permits are issued for community gardens; these permits state that community gardens are to be operational by April 1st.
  • Water supply is first turned on to the community gardens. The supply may have only one source, which then turns on the water for other locations.
  • If there is only one water source for a property, any repairs needed in other areas (i.e., pools, water fountains or dog parks), may impact the water being turned on at the community garden.

2.Water Fountains and Dog Parks

  • Water fountains and water fountains at dog parks are turned on simultaneously, as many locations have both water sources on site.
  • Water is either turned on, or water sources are assessed for repairs. If possible, once assessed, repairs are completed on site. If necessary, parts are ordered to repair water sources.
  • Once the water sources are turned on, and repairs are completed, the water is turned on.
  • The completion for water activation at fountains is estimated for April 30th with additional prioritization based upon events scheduled by client agencies.

3.Pool Houses

  • Water sources are turned on at pool houses to allow Contract Services to proceed with the painting of pools and ensure pumps are operational.
  • This process could range from turning the water source on, to reinstalling the plumbing system that was previously disassembled to prevent theft of the equipment.
  • The completion for water activation at pool houses is estimated for mid-May based on inspection and status of pool operations.

Once all water sources (community gardens, pool houses, water fountains and water fountains at dog parks) are turned on, DGS returns to the pool houses to ensure internal plumbing is operational and passes DOH inspection.

Does DGS have a schedule for turning on water?

The DGS Facilities Management Team began turning on the water in March, with a scheduled completion date of Memorial Day.


Springtime kicks off the regular mowing season for DGS. In March, DGS began city-wide grass mowing at nearly 600 District-owned locations, including at schools, recreation centers, municipal buildings, and parks. Throughout the summer months, the frequency of mowing will coincide with weather forecasts and rain accumulation. Mowing season ends October 30. Then, leaf removal services are conducted throughout the fall season – as deemed necessary. Three leaf-pickup sessions are performed to prepare for winter. Leaf removal continues in November and December. There is no mowing activity in the winter.

 Will grass be mowed, every 2-3 weeks?

  • The frequency of mowing changes, depending on the accumulation of rain and the month. Mowing services are contingent upon both weather and the growth of grass. For example, during the months of April and May – weather permitting – mowing is performed every week. In September, the sessions are conducted bi-weekly, mowing season ends October 31st.

How many properties are DGS responsible for mowing?

  • DGS Facilities Management handles more than 650 specific locations, which include DC Public Schools (DCPS) sites, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) facilities parks and triangle parks, and other municipal properties.

Is DGS responsible for mowing public spaces (medians, sidewalks, etc.)

  • DGS is not responsible for mowing public spaces such as medians and sidewalks. The Department of Public Works (DPW) and National Park Service provide mowing services for public spaces.

Is DGS responsible for mowing vacant properties and locations?

  • Yes. DGS is responsible for vacant government vacant properties owned by the District in our portfolio. The Department of Public Works (DPW) and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) also mow vacant properties within their jurisdiction.

How does DGS schedule locations?

  • DGS considers all District-owned properties that it manages as important facilities. Locations are on a schedule depending on weather and grass growth. In certain instances locations are schedule based on special events and activities. For example, DPR permitted activities on fields.

What happens when it rains? Is there a plan in place to reschedule?

  • In inclement weather, DGS coordinates with its contractors to reschedule mowing.


What role does DGS have in turning on lights at DPR and DCPS locations?

  • DGS schedules the non-automated lighting timers to ensure they are set to be consistent with Daylight Savings Time; this is a two to four week process. Automated timers are adjusted remotely to be consistent with Daylight Savings Time. DGS can adjust lighting at DCPS field locations and DPR can adjust at DPR field locations. 

How does DGS and DPR coordinate turning on lights for DPR locations?

  • DPR requests lighting times according to their permitted activities. For DPR locations, the timing for lights can range from sunset to 10 p.m. or later.
  • The lighting of play areas is based primarily on location, as there are not many locations that have lighting specifically for playgrounds. Lights are directed toward ball fields, basketball and tennis courts.
  • DPR also has the capability to program automated sports lighting at many of their fields and courts.

How does DGS and DCPS coordinate turning on lights for DCPS locations?

  • Lighting for DCPS locations is determined by the school.

What if the lights from the DCPS or DPR facility are “too bright”?

  • There are varying types of lighting structures across both DCPS and DPR facilities. Globe lights are considered pathway lights, and designed to project outwardly across a pathway or walkway. Light towers are used for fields and courts and project down.
  • DGS will assess the location on a case by case basis to determine the appropriate course of actions specific to the facility.

How lights that have been non-functioning are prioritized for repair?

  • Lighting which impacts public safety are prioritized, followed by DPR and DCPS for activities, in accordance with available funding.

How can residents report DGS properties in need of attention?

  • Please report any needed repair or maintenance issues through the following protocol:

    1.Contact your designated facility Point of Contact (POC). They can decide if a work order ticket needs to be submitted to DGS.

    a.DPR, the Site Manager or Staff on site

    b.DCPS, the Principal or the Director of Logistics

    2.The designated POC can call (202) 576-7676 for assistance.

    3.The facility POC can provide updates by viewing the Salesforce database.

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