Longview Parks Celebration Sparks Resident Resentment - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/21/04 - Longview

Longview Parks Celebration Sparks Resident Resentment

A celebration is underway in Longview by the city's Parks and Recreation Department commemorating 35 years of service to the community.  However, that celebration is not welcome news to some, who feel it's a waste of  money. Some in Longview who frequent city parks are upset the city is spending money to celebrate parks, when their own facilities are lacking.

"If they're going to spend money on this celebration, they may want to spend it on the parks they're celebrating," says South Ward area resident Shamika Bell. While other facilities like the massive Lear Park garner big donations and volunteerism, many see their older parks, like Stamper and South Ward, neglected and unmaintained.

"I'd like to see some adequate lighting for the neighborhood, I'd like to see the chains off the bathroom doors put up, some swings back up,"' says Stamper Park area resident James Hutchinson. The city sent out invitations to the celebration in the form of retro packets, complete with psychedelic handkerchief and rainbow hackysacks  Some we spoke with today think the Parks and Recreation Department isn't doing what they're supposed to do.

"The funds we're spending on this celebration are miniscule, we're hoping that through exposure to the community, increased involvement that people will realize that parks are an integral part of the community," said Parks and Recreation Director Laura Hill. Hill hopes the promotional campaign will give returns of those who want to volunteer.  Others don't want their tax dollars going this way.

Some residents want the celebration to include improving all the parks.

Bob Hallmark, reporting.

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