PARKS DIVISION FAQs

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Who is responsible for planting or removing trees on city street terraces?

The adjacent property owner is responsible for the maintenance and care of city street terraces, including tree selection, tree planting, tree maintenance, and tree removal (as defined in City Ordinance 12.32.010). Care and maintenance the owner is responsible for includes pruning tree limbs to a height of 15' above the city street and 7' above the sidewalk. Trees and vegetation must be kept 25' back from intersections to provide a safe line of vision in that intersection.

When are the Janesville parks open?

With a few exceptions, the Janesville city parks are open from 5am until 11pm. Park restrooms and facilities are open from April 15 until October 15 of each year. Traxler warming house, Spring Brook Trail, Rockport Trail, and Kiwanis Pond are open year-round. Call the Parks Division office at 755-3025 for specific information.

What does the City do with dead trees in the park system?

Each year, usually in early December or January, the Parks Division allows Janesville residents to obtain dead park trees for their own use as firewood. The City cuts the trees down, and for a small fee ranging from $5 to $30 per tree, permit holders may then cut up and haul away this wood. Call the Janesville Parks and Recreation Divisions office at 755-3030 if you wish to have your name placed on a future contact list regarding this program.

What is the frequency of maintenance of the city parks?

We mow developed Janesville parks during the growing season on an eight-working-days mowing cycle. Restrooms and pavilions are cleaned daily. We respond to other park maintenance needs on a complaint basis. If you have concerns regarding park maintenance, please call 755-3025.

What are the rules about pets in Janesville parks?

Except in designated pet exercise and training areas ("PETAs"), dogs and cats are prohibited from Janesville parks, greenbelts, and trails between May 15 and September 15 of each year. Animals are never permitted on any school grounds. During permitted times, pets must be on a leash of 6' or less in length and you are required to pick up animal waste.

Pet exercise and training areas (PETAs) are found in designated portions of Palmer Park and the Rock River Parkway. You may use them daily from 5am to 11pm year-round. In PETAs, you can exercise and train your dog without having to comply with the leash law. However, you must always have your dog under your control. You must also clean up after your pet and have your pets licensed.

Paw Print Park, located on South Oakhill Avenue near the Highway 11 bypass, is open year round as a fee-based dog park. The park is 17 acres in size and is fenced in. For current fees call the Parks Division at 755-3025.

Are service dogs and motorized wheel chairs allowed in parks and trails?

Yes. While there is a seasonal ban on dogs in public parks and trails from May 15-Septermber 15, and unlicensed motorized vehicles are generally not allowed in public parks and trails, an exception is made for service dogs and motorized wheel chairs. To ensure that physically challenged citizens have full access to Janesville’s parks and trails, service dogs and motorized wheel chairs are allowed in these areas year round. For questions call 755-3025.

What are the rules about use of alcohol in the Janesville parks?

The City does not permit alcohol in any Janesville park, except by special permit for events that are open to the public. However, an ordinance has been established as follows: 

An ordinance creating a permit and establishing a fee to allow the possession and consumption of fermented malt beverages and wines at designated areas and times in Traxler Park, Riverside Park and Palmer Park with a penalty for violations as set forth in Janesville General Ordinance Sections 12.60.130 and 5.06.470.

Beer/wine is allowed in the following restricted park areas by permit only in conjunction with a pavilion reservation. These include: Palmer Park Hilltop pavilion, Riverside North pavilion, Riverside South pavilion, Traxler Park Lion’s pavilion and Traxler Park Warming House. For processing, complete the application, sign and mail, fax, or drop off in person to the address provided for Janesville Parks and Recreation Divisions office a minimum of three (3) working days prior to the pavilion reservation date.  A $50 fee is required to process the application. Click here for a copy of the application. A $10 cancellation fee applies to all permit cancellations.

Call the Janesville Parks and Recreation Divisions office at 755-3030 for more details.

Can I mow past my property line? (Buffer Zone)

According to the Greenbelt policy, Section D: the abutting property owner may maintain a twenty-foot (20’) buffer zone. This allows you to mow 20 feet of the greenbelt to prevent the encroachment of weeds into your lawn.

Since I am maintaining the 20’ Greenbelt buffer zone can I plant trees and shrubs?
The Parks Department will review requests individually. Plants not City approved will be removed. Native tree or shrub species may be acceptable depending on the area. Plant selection will be based on existing natural vegetation and water flow consideration.

Can I mow a connection to the City trail system from my property?

Mowing of the greenbelt is limited to the 20’ buffer zone adjacent to your property. Other mowing of trails, corridors, or sledding areas is not allowed.

 How can I use this greenbelt area?

Private use beyond planting or mowing as authorized by ordinance is not allowed. Ornamental or vegetable gardens, sheds, play equipment, benches, vehicle and boat storage, firewood storage, and all other private uses of public land are prohibited by ordinance.

Can I remove an unsightly tree or shrub behind my home?

The Parks Division will attempt to remove dangerous materials from the greenbelts. Down, broken, dead, or dying trees are part of the natural ecology and evolution of the area and, unless they create an immediate drainage or safety hazard, will be left in place. Citizens may not remove, cut, or plant material without expressed written consent. A liability waiver is required.

Can I have an underground pet fence wire in the greenbelt?

City ordinances prohibit the construction or maintenance of any structure or equipment on any area of the greenbelt. All structures and equipment must be kept on private property. Pets may NOT be buried in the greenbelt.

Can I access my property through the greenbelt?

The Parks Division may accommodate requests for vehicle access to private property based on greenbelt conditions, access availability, and citizen responsibility for damage. Any problems caused by such access are the responsibility of the property owner making the request, and no access is allowed without prior approval by the Parks Division. Please call 373-3406 to speak with the Parks Director to discuss any access questions.

Can I dispose of grass clippings and brush in the greenbelt?

City ordinance prohibits, and therefore, it is illegal to dump or dispose of any material on any area of the greenbelt. Instead of collecting your clippings when you mow, use a mulching mower to deliver those nutrients back to your lawn and reduce the amount of chemical fertilizer that you use. Janesville residents may take yard waste to the Demolition Landfill on Black Bridge Road at no charge during regular hours (call 755-3110 for information).

How does the City decide on management plans for the greenbelt?

When new sections of greenbelt are added to the city, the Parks and Engineering Divisions invite area residents and hold neighborhood meetings to discuss possible management plans. These plans are likely to include multiple goals and usually take several years to establish.

When will the City cut down the thistles?

The Parks Division attempts to address large areas of noxious weeds throughout the growing season. Newly acquired greenbelts might require mowing for several years to eliminate the noxious weeds. Since all thistles bloom at approximately the same time, it is difficult to mow all the flowering plants. Our goal is to mow and/or spray weeds before flowering and seed production. If you have thistle problems call the Parks Director at 373-3406.

What can I do about misuse and abuse of the greenbelts?

If you encounter public dumping, gardening, abuse of mowing limits, plant removal, private clearing, or anti-social behavior in the greenbelts, please call the Janesville Police non-emergency number at 757-2244 or Parks at 755-3025.

I understand that Janesville has a paved trail. Can you tell me how long this trail is and about other trails in Janesville?

The City is in the process of connecting many of our neighborhoods with the Janesville segment of the Ice Age Trail. 30 miles of paved trail have been constructed throughout Janesville. Ultimately, a citywide trail will connect the greenbelt system and Spring Brook drainage with the central downtown, the Kiwanis bike trail and many of the parks along the Rock River. From Janesville, the statewide Ice Age Trail will one day connect to the west with the Sugar River Bike Trail and the north to Milton/Fort Atkinson and east to the Kettle Moraine State Forest. A city bike trail map is available at the Parks and Recreation Divisions office at City Hall.

Are there any snowmobile trails within Janesville? Where can I ride my snowmobile in Janesville?

Snowmobiling is prohibited in all city parks, greenbelts and trails.

Rock County has more than 3,500 registered snowmobiles, and many snowmobile clubs offer groomed and marked trails. All of the clubs are unified under the Rock County Alliance of Snowmobile Clubs. For information on the clubs and their current officers, contact the Rock County Parks Department at 757-5450.

I would like to use a pavilion for a family reunion. Can you tell what pavilions are available?

Janesville Parks and Recreation Divisions provide a reservation service for all pavilions. We do not require that you reserve a pavilion; however, reservations take precedence over walk-in use. The fee varies based upon the site and the size of the pavilion. We can check availability of pavilions on a specified date over the telephone, but to reserve the pavilion, you will need to come to the Parks and Recreation office to sign the reservation form and pay the reservation fee. Reservations may also be requested online at http://activenet.active.com/janesvilleleisure. Reservations begin annually in January. Call the Parks and Recreation Division office for start date.

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