Parks pride and care versus the not so good

Published 6:30 am Saturday, May 15, 2021

The restrooms in Veteran’s Pavilion have experienced a disturbing amount of repeat vandalism in the past week plus. As a result, we have decided to lock these restrooms for the short term.

Once repairs are completed, restroom keys will be checked out to individuals/groups who rent the pavilion. We suspect that some of this vandalism may be happening during daylight hours. If you witness suspicious activity in this park or any other, please contact law enforcement.

Some people might question why we would lock the restrooms and thereby deprive others who need use of them? One of the answers is, because we are tasked with responsible management of your tax dollars. Spending for parts and labor to repeatedly repair and/or unplug/clean a public facility, which was deliberately busted up or otherwise vandalized, doesn’t make good fiscal sense.

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We’d like to think that every park user, and every member of society, for that matter, is a responsible citizen, who is looking out for not only themselves, but also for the welfare of their friends, neighbors, strangers and everyone else in general. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t the case.

Conversely, there are quite a number of responsible citizens in the Austin. Some, whether reluctantly, sheepishly, or even boldly, step forward to do their part or even more. We’ve had several groups volunteer already this year, those seeking to go out and clean up parks and other public spaces. To assist with these volunteer efforts, we have on hand in our office 10 new, short, litter grabbers, those which are appropriate for elementary-age students and other small-in-stature individuals. We also have (or have access to) some of the longer versions which enable full-sized adults to stand upright whilst reaching for pieces of paper, plastic, and other discarded or wind-propelled litter. We supply garbage bags and disposable gloves as well.

One group who publicly assisted recently in Community Park in Spruce Up Austin. In the past two weeks they planted nine trees (which they purchased) in two different parks within Austin. On one of these occasions, approximately 20 individuals showed up to work with six trees. The work took less than an hour, including installation of landscape fabric and mulch. Some of these same individuals do volunteers spring and fall maintenance of parks, and some of these same individuals volunteer to go out and water some of the recently planted trees.

Every group and individual who does their part with pick-up, and/or looking out for parks/public spaces in general, is very much appreciated. If you think maybe you’d like to play in part in volunteering within our local parks, or even donating funds for one or more trees, perhaps in honor of a loved one, give us a call or email us; we can find role for your generosity, be it labor and/or a financial contribution.