Lake Arthur park problems: Residents say West End falling into disrepair
LAKE ARTHUR – Residents here are calling for Lake Arthur officials to fix conditions at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park, also known among locals as West End Park, at the corner of G.C. Chaney and Sixth Street.
Phyllis Robinson, who has taken care of the park, said Wednesday the park has fallen into disrepair after years of neglect. She said the park needs new equipment, pavilions and bathrooms and to be cleaned up.
“For the past 17 years I have been taking care of that park and when I leave that park the city of Lake Arthur doesn’t do anything for it,” Robinson said.
Unlike other parks in the town, West End Park has not not received anything new or upgrades in more than 60 years, she said. She said swings are rusted, the merry-go-round is leaning, fences are down, light fixtures are broken, loose tin is on the ground and restrooms are in deplorable condition and need to be torn down.
“I have went to mayor after mayor to get something done and I keep getting runarounds,” she said.
She made a list of things that the park needed, including adding barbecue pits, picnic tables, and playground equipment, and gave it to former mayor Robbie Bertrand, but nothing was ever done, she said.
“My biggest concern with this is that everything in that park has came from the beach or the dream park….we get the leftovers,” she said. “There’s nothing new in that park and I have had enough of it. Y’all have not upgraded this park in 60 something years.”
She said everything the town puts in the park is used, broken, rusted or corroded.
“We want new stuff the way y’all are putting it in the other parks,” Robinson said.
Another resident accused the town of purposely putting junk in the park, some of which is unsafe for children. Others questioned how money allocated to the park is being used and why the town is not addressing obvious concerns with the park.
Mayor Sherry Crochet said the town does not currently have any funds for the park, but is working on a recreational grant. The last grant the town received for parks was during Bertrand’s administration, she said.
“If I don’t have money, how am I suppose to fix it,” Crochet asked.
Alderman Auldon Robinson said the town and residents need to work together to create a plan of what needs to be done at the park and how the money can be spent so that if money becomes available the town has an idea of what it wants to do.
“This is not a new situation here and I feel your pain,” Auldon Robinson said. “I understand exactly where the people are coming from because it;s a very sensitive matter and is a matter that has been long overdue in being corrected and addressed.”
“I am 56 years old and the items in that park I played with when I was just a 10 years old.” he continued. “There’s no excuse for that and I realize this administration is not totally responsible for what is going on out there today. There were others, but the fact is we cannot close the door on this administration and let another 10-15 years go by. We have to do something, otherwise we are just adding to the problem.”
Some issues with the park, including picking up trash and repairing fences, are simple fixes that can be easily addressed, he said.
Special to the American Press