by Larry Little
Last month several pastors from the East Texas Minister Alliance had concerns about the Brandon Park neighborhood. We went to Brandon Park at night and saw crowds hanging out after the park closed. We also saw women standing on street corners, some trying to stop us as we drove by. But that was weeks ago. A lot has changed at Brandon Park and Lufkin police have stepped up patrols. "We have assigned an off duty officer to work from 2 in the afternoon to 2 in the morning, 7 days a week and I have reassigned the community police officers to concentrate patrol in this area. The section officer that is assigned to work this part of town on each one of the shifts stays in this area as much as possible," says Lt. Harold Cottle.
We took another night trip to Brandon Park this week. The place looked like a ghost town. The street corners were also empty. Pastor Lonnie Williams is leading the fight in taking the neighborhood back. He is pleased with the progress. "In order to have revitalization there had to be a certain sense of discipline and law enforcement in this area, because we want to help people to be encouraged and we want this to be a nice neighborhood,and a nice community and the park where our kids can come and play," says Pastor Lonnie Williams.
Folks who live in north Lufkin are also excited about the change. "We want our parks to be where people will be able to come bring their children and themselves and sit their and be free to do whatever they want," says Lela Simmons.