NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A grassroots group in Nacogdoches is choosing to be proactive about improving the city's parks, rather than complaining and casting blame.
Less than a month old, the "Parks Advocate League," "PAL" for short, is already getting members on board. The most encouraging support comes from city leaders.
The City of Nacogdoches has numerous parks which are enjoyed every day by families and children.
"We do," said Brandi Cartwright, a park user. "We do. We come at least once a week. Often twice or three times a week."
But the regulars are troubled by what they routinely see.
"I've seen the city out here. I've seen the truck that comes and cleans the restroom," said Mary Turner, another park user. "I've seen them empty the trash, but it takes just one lodged pizza box in the trash can then trash goes everywhere."
Bathrooms also turn nasty. Turner tells her kids when they've got to go, it's time to leave.
"There is a lack of pride and a lack of ownership in the park that people don't care," Turner said.
The families that do care formed PAL, Parks Advocacy League. The grassroots group is willing to raise money to improve bathrooms, purchase newer playground equipment, and someday fulfill the big wish list item.
"So start small with the ultimate goal of definitely adding one or more splash pads in town," Turner said.
This week PAL met with city leaders. As expected, money came up in the conversation.
"It's always a question of, 'Well what do we cut over here in order to fund this other thing?' So what we kinda came up with is that they're going to meet us half way," Turner said.
Turner said the city is agreeing to manage an account designated for PAL donations. In addition, grants can be pursued.
"It's more than what we could ask of them," Turner said. "We really need our citizens to take ownership of the parks."
Word about PAL is spreading on the playground, but also on Facebook, which is not bad for an organization less than a month old.
PAL already has its first event scheduled.
Next month, on July 19th, the Parks Advocacy League will conduct a cleanup event at Pecan Park, the hub of all the city parks. Popsicles and a kickball game will follow.