Grasshopper versatility reduces operating costs, keeps budget intact
Feb 4, 2011
For most cities and municipalities, the balance between man-hours and equipment costs can be delicate. Budget constraints and stretching taxpayer dollars can make regular grounds maintenance a challenge.
However, Robert Pace
, parks supervisor for the City of California, Mo.
, says the city has been able to maximize its resources, both manpower and equipment, efficiently with its fleet of Grasshopper mowers and implements.
The Parks Department has five MaxTorque diesel
Grasshoppers, two Model 721D
and three Model 722D, as well as a PowerVac Collection System
, a dozer blade
and a snowthrower
for versatility year-round.
Pace and his three employees are responsible for maintaining approximately 110 acres of turf areas to maintain, including four baseball fields, a soccer field, four cemeteries, a 37-acre park and other city-owned properties and lots.
Pace says that they have the Grasshoppers on a regular use rotation, which allows them to perform regular maintenance and limit operating hours to keep the mowers in good working condition.
What really impresses me, he says, is that even though the mowers are starting to age our oldest unit is a 2002 they still plug away. Weve never had any serious problems with them, which means we havent had high maintenance costs associated with them.
Pace says that in addition to their cost-saving durability, the diesels also save operating costs because they require less fuel than gasoline models
With our old gas mowers, we would have to fill up twice a day, he says. But with the Grasshopper diesels, we fill up once and were good to go all day long. Theyve really saved us in fuel costs over the years.
In addition to the fuel savings, Pace says that the department has also significantly man-hours to maintain the properties with the combination of zero-turn maneuverability and out-front decks.
We have a tractor with a pull-behind for more wide-open mowing, but the Grasshoppers just dance circles around it, he says. Theres no comparison, really.
He says at one time they used push mowers to mow around obstacles fences, trees, headstones, playground equipment, picnic tables, disc golf baskets, sidewalks, etc. and then go back and mow with tractors, but now, the crew can get within ½ inch of those obstacles on the Grasshoppers, eliminating the need for push mowers and reducing secondary trimming.
We can get under trees and fences easily, and the close trimming we can do really cuts down the time it takes to weed-eat around them, and everything else, says Pace. That and they cut well. The grass always looks in great shape.
Not only do the Grasshoppers help reduce mowing time, but the snowthrower and dozer blade have also reduced the time it takes to remove snow from city sidewalks, drives and parking lots.
With the snowthrower, we dont blink an eye with 8 inches on the ground, Pace says. And the dozer blade pushes snow excellently, exactly where you want it. We cant wait for the snow to fall, its that easy.
Another feature Pace is impressed with is the comfort and easy-to-use nature of the machines
You can ride all day on them and not get worn out, and theyre really easy to operated one-handed, so you can really get comfortable on them, he says. At the end of the day, we cant say anything bad about them. They just the best.
Pace says nothing else can compare to the Grasshoppers, and with the savings the department has realized because of them, hes certain that he couldnt be convinced otherwise.
We just love them to death, he says. Theyve got a great product, great people that take care of you when you need it. Theres just nothing bad to say about them at all.
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