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Optimizing Tree Planting in Park Ridge

 

January 2017 Tree Planting

Most Public Works and Forestry departments know the magnitude and attention to detail that must be paid to tree plantings each year. What locations should we plant trees in? What is the most efficient route to take? How do we stay within budget and get the project done in a timely manner?  

 

In the spring and fall of each year, the City of Park Ridge must answer these questions to coordinate and manage tree planting in the parkway.  The planting process is conducted by contractors and can include 100 to 300 trees, depending on the fiscal year and money availableBecause of the vast number of trees paired with the extensive planting area, coordinating and managing an efficient tree planting project can be a difficult task.  

 

How Trees Are Planted 

In the past, planters worked off only a map of the planting locations, without any directions regarding how to order the plantings. This was problematic for Village staff needing to work on trees following a tree planting, as staff would not know where trees had been or were going to be planted next. GIS was able to simplify and streamline this process by creating a map of the optimal route planters should follow. This helps Village staff to better manage the planting process and know which locations to visit. 

 

Efficiency, Collaboration, and Technology 

The route is created using a tree location address list provided by Public Works and ESRI’s Network Analyst extension, a tool shared within the GIS Consortium. The mapped addresses are ordered to reduce mileage and drive time in the overall route.   

 

These tasks work together to create a systematic and efficient workflow for the planters and city staff, reducing the time and effort spent on coordinating the bi-yearly tree planting. To further aid in management of the tree planting process, the time it takes to plant a tree could be incorporated into the analysis. This would give all involved a better idea of how many trees should be expected to be planted per day. Such a process and workflow is not limited to planting trees but could be created for other projects as well.   

 

Contact a specialist to discuss ways in which this process could be applied to improve a workflow! 

 

Take the Lead 

Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  

 

If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Louise Hahn, GIS Specialist 

 

Fast Forward to Better Service, Delivery, and Performance!


In October 2015, the city and village managers in the GIS Consortium approved a recommendation made by leaders from their communities, to negotiate with Accela for the purchase of their Customer Relationship Management solution (formerly PublicStuff). Prior to this recommendation, the communities engaged in this project were using a variety of methods to track requests for service. The common challenge was that they were unable to easily share the information with each other or with the public, and this wasted valuable staff time. This is a short explanation of key accomplishments the Citizen Service Request Workgroup made in just 1 years’ time, which is really something to celebrate! 

 

Negotiating a Win-Win Agreement with Accela 

By the end of January 2016, the communities approached Accela as a group to create a one-of-a-kind agreement. This agreement assists communities with receiving discounts on the annual subscription cost of the software, the cost per integration, the cost for add-on features, and a reduction in the percentage for future price increases. As a result of creating this unique agreementAccela benefits by onboarding many new clients at once, establishing stronger presence in Illinois, and lowering their cost of sales. 

 

Standards and Governance 

By the end of February 2016, the communities standardized a list of service request types and definitions. The group that spearheaded this effort worked diligently to ensure the standards mirrored what a typical resident would requestSome examples of these include: Fallen Tree Limb, Construction Concern, Graffiti, Tall Grass and Weeds, Street Light Out, and Water Quality Concern.  The solution offers communities the best of both worlds: structure and flexibility with the administration of the system  

 

8 Communities Launch Initiative in the First Year! 

A short six months into the initiative, four communities have already gone live with the system: Lincolnwood, Downers Grove, Riverside, and Des Plaines!  Elk Grove Village, Mount Prospect, Buffalo Grove, and Norridge are set to launch before the end of 2016Here is what a couple of them have to say since their implementation: 

 

Doug Petroshius, Assistant Village Manager in Lincolnwood says, “In Lincolnwood the CRM is enhancing communication by providing residents updates on service requests, by making it easy to access the village staff directory, and by receiving priority information from the village through push notifications. The Village of Lincolnwood app has also been well received by the Board members and other community leaders.” 

 

Megan Miles, Downers Grove Management Analyst says, Our staff found the system easy to learn and use, and that benefits our residents because we have a good tool that allows us to quickly find and relay information to them.” 

 

Planning for the Future 

Only a year ago, this project collaboration was merely an idea to solve two prevalent pain points: to enhance communication and service to residents, and to provide a more robust, user friendly tool for community staff. The leaders of this GIS Consortium initiative made these outcomes possible and we congratulate all of them for this tremendous accomplishment. The year 2016 produced robust advancementsand we can’t wait to see what 2017 brings!  


Take the Lead 

Discover, innovate, and collaborate with the GIS Consortium today! Contact your community’s GIS Specialist to discuss project opportunities, Consortium services, and GIS.  


If you would like to learn more about this initiative or if you have questions, please contact agrahovac@mgpinc.com. 

 

Author: Maria Storm, MGP Client Experience Manager