PORT CHARLOTTE — It’s Wednesday morning at Audubon-Pennington Nature Park. As the sun makes its way upward, warm streaks of light poke through the branches of a live oak, revealing a lush bed of fern and flowering shrubs on the ground below. Soon it will be summer and the heat will be heavy. For now, though, the sweet smell of pine mingles in the crisp morning air.
Since 2008, the Parks Department has seen a substantial reduction both in resources and staff. In fiscal year 2007, for example, the county spent roughly $2.8 million just on park maintenance, according to Budget Director Gordon Burger. In fiscal year 2010, that figure was closer to $1.2 million, he said.
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