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Concerns for Edith Pettus Park

Posted By Candy Johnson On Thursday, July 2, 2009 @ 2:08 am In Commentary | No Comments

Candy Johnson, City Council Member for Ward 5

Candy Johnson, City Council Member for Ward 5

For several years the condition of this Park originally funded through a grant for the low-income area has been overlooked for repairs. The city owns and is responsible for this park, but has failed to upkeep the proper lighting, ball field and pool. The residents haven’t had full access to this park in over 4 years.

I have noticed that several other parks in poor condition receiving preventative maintenance measures such as lighting in amounts of of $80,000 to $125,000 have been allocated funds for improvements in this budget. I have supported the Heritage park improvements in my Ward and also some others in other Wards.  I agree that parks are about a good quality of life for our citizens but I am confused as to why we never consider fixing this particular park after several request to do so?

The responses I have received are as follows;

  1. We don’t make any money off the pool.
  2. It would not be a wise management decision to reopen the pool in that area.
  3. The usage of this park is low.
  4. Little league teams do not want to play there.


I do not feel that we have properly addressed the needs of the citizens in that area, nor have we gathered relevant and up-to-date data to back up these assumptions. As I am on the parks and recreation committee I have requested the cost to repair the once heavily attended pool, and was given an estimated cost of around $50,000 to repair the liner due to leaks in the pool. I am sure it may need some additional repairs, but before APSU built their new fitness center, they rented the pool from the city and did just fine maintaining it. I understand bottom lines, but is that what quality of life activities are really about?

When we talk about kids getting into trouble in the summer when there is nothing to do and the causes of low-income housing areas generating crime… We can keep talking about it, because when they have nothing to do they will unfortunately make trouble or possibly join gangs. If we can spend $40,000 on curtains and blinds, we can certainely afford an additional $80,000-$100,000 to invest in a park that has been overlooked for many years.

Many of these kids don”t have the transportation to get to the other pools and additionally can’t afford to pay $3-4 for admission. This pool is in their neighborhood and is in walking distance. On another note, the field and lighting is in such poor and unsafe condition I have no doubt as to why little league teams would not want to play there.

I have shared this information with you in order to let you know that the request I proposed for $80,000 to be allocated to begin fixing this park along with the other parks that were approved for funding failed (5-6) at the budget hearings. I not only support the growth and progress of this city, but also have a heart to make sure we are providing for the all the areas that need attention in our city as a parks and recreation committee member. If you feel this is something that should be given consideration please contact your City Council members to express your concerns.

Thank you!

Candy Johnson
Ward 5 City Councilwoman


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