Public Works Director
Public Works Director
Department of Public Works
City of Oak Park
Oak Park, MI 48237
Boards and Commissions
Beautification Advisory Commission
Downspout Board of Appeals
What Does a Public Works Director Do?
Public Works Director, David DeCoster, is responsible for the supervision and management of the Public Works Department. This includes support and response to the City Manager in all areas of Public Works. The Public Works Department is located at 10600 Capital, Oak Park, MI.
Winter's frequent periods of extreme cold and freeze-melt cycles are left in the past when spring arrives, but their destructive effects remain.
The harsh weather conditions of November-through-March each year cause widespread damage to streets in every part of the community. DPW crews respond with an ongoing program of cold-patching broken surfaces and making other minor repairs wherever necessary.
If you see troublesome potholes in your neighborhood, please inform the Department and those locations will be added to our repair schedule.
Help us serve you better: Report potholes.
There are similar carryover challenges from winter weather water main breaks. The DPW quickly repairs the structural damage and restores water service during winter, but permanent repairs to the excavated areas are impossible until spring. That's when the Department begins conducting site restoration, which include landscaping and paving where needed, at every location where breaks have occurred.
Not all of the DPW's typical spring time services are related to solving winter-related problems. The transition to warmer temperatures brings additional responsibilities.
For example, the Department takes care of the more than 15,000 trees that are located on public properties, such as parks and municipal greenbelts. Tasks include mulching, removing damaged and diseased trees, stump removal, and planting additional and replacement trees. We're proud to point out that Oak Park has been recognized as a Tree City USA by the National Arbor Foundation every year for decades.
Another area of service to spruce up the community is the spring time campaign to re-paint important road markings, such as school crossings and street lanes.
Many of the Department's services that are initiated in spring continue into, and throughout, the summer months.
Tree care -- mulching, removing damaged and diseased trees and planting new ones - is a prime example. These activities actually accelerate during the peak growing season, when tree-trimming also becomes an important priority everywhere in the City. Residents can make this service more effective by letting the DPW know about any trees on public property that are in immediate need of care.
Help us serve you better: Report trees that need trimming.
Site restoration where water main repairs were made and the painting of new street lanes and school crossings also are ongoing services.
There's a lot more involved in maintaining municipal property than tree care and the DPW performs a variety of services to keep all public areas in great shape.
The Department cleans and maintains 150 acres of public land, comprising nine City parks and the property around municipal offices and facilities. This responsibility includes services ranging from cutting the grass and landscaping to maintaining and cleaning park pavilions and picnic tables.
Residents can assist us in keeping these properties clean and attractive for their use by informing us of any damage or blight they find.
Help us serve you better: Report any vandalism in parks.
DPW personnel also perform a wide variety of other tasks during the summer, from sweeping streets to removing bee and wasp nests from public property. Bees and wasps are cause for concern when nested in busy areas and should be brought to the DPW' s attention whenever observed.
Help us serve you better: Report bee and wasp nests in public areas.
Leaf collection every autumn is another of the Department's high-profile services. And it's a major challenge. Our crews collect an average of 1,250 tons of leaves each year. That's 2.5 million pounds!
The pickup program begins in early October and continues until early December. Leaves can be bagged in paper compost bags from the first collection date in April through mid-December. Please check the City's calendar or DPW important dates for exact dates.
Collections are conducted neighborhood-by-neighborhood, in a continuing series of cycles that cover the entire City multiple times over the duration of the program. We post signs in prominent locations that announce in advance when each neighborhood will receive the service, so residents can properly time the raking of their lawns.
It's important for the efficiency of the process that residents follow a few simple rules, such as: No tree limbs or lawn clippings may be placed in the piles of leaves that are raked to curbside. Leaves only, please.
Help us serve you better: Follow leaf collection rules
The highest-profile work we perform is clearing our roads of snow and other frozen precipitation every winter. DPW crews plow and salt Oak Park's 88 miles of streets, plus municipal parking lots, whenever the region is hit by a storm. That's a lot of area to cover. If all of the City's roads were connected end-to-end, they would stretch from City Hall to 20 miles beyond Lansing.
Despite the giant scope of this challenge, our goal always is to plow every street in the community from curb-to-curb as rapidly as possible. The closer we can come to meeting that objective, the safer the driving for you and the more easily emergency vehicles can navigate neighborhoods.
Residents' cooperation is essential to the effectiveness of the snow removal program. It is crucial that no vehicles be left parked on the street when a snow emergency is declared. At any location where cars or trucks are left at curbside, it is impossible for plows to clear snow from curb-to-curb. The neighbors on those blocks pay a price in terms of inconvenience, and the owners of illegally-parked vehicles most likely will have to pay the price of a ticket.
Help us serve you better: No curbside parking during Snow Emergencies.
The DPW is responsible for maintaining 125 miles of water mains within the City. Not surprisingly, structural troubles within the system often occur during the coldest weather periods of the year. Our crews are called on, day and night, to fix a number of water main breaks every winter.
Residents can help make sure these problems are addressed immediately by reporting any condition they notice that might indicate a main break.
Help us serve you better: Report water main breaks. During the day, dial (248) 691-7497 and during the evening, dial, (248) 691-7520.
The Department also conducts a program of preventative winterization, turning off water service at vacant houses and other buildings, maintaining and repairing the stop boxes that control this function, and restoring service when appropriate.
There are more than 200 miles of storm and sanitary sewers in Oak Park and DPW workers are constantly cleaning those conduits - and hundreds of catch basins -- throughout the winter. This program is made even more effective when residents make certain we know about any problems in their neighborhood.
Help us serve you better: Report damaged signs.
The DPW is responsible for the condition of the City's more than 1,000 fire hydrants. This responsibility includes making repairs, freshening paint for maximum visibility to responding fire-firefighters, and flushing them out every autumn to remove above-ground water content that would otherwise freeze and cause damage.
Many other DPW activities are conducted year-round, rather than seasonally or periodically. Several of the most prominent examples are services provided to other municipal departments, which enhance those agencies' capacity to serve the community.
The Department maintains the City's police and fire vehicles as well as its own large fleet of vehicles and specialized equipment. We also provide welding and fabricating for structural repairs in all municipal facilities.
As stated, these are just examples. They, and all of the other services mentioned in this presentation, add up to one very important bottom line for the residents we serve:
The DPW is on the job for you, Oak Park.