Residents at a community forum this week expressed opposition to Councilman C. L. (Clay) Bryant's call for the city to eliminate two city parks because of gang problems.
Last month, Bryant said Cherrieville and Sharkie parks--built with federal funds in 1972 to provide teen-agers with alternatives to gang life--had instead become havens for gang activity and drug dealing. The council voted unanimously to have the Parks and Recreation Commission hold public hearings on the matter.
At Monday's hearing, Hector Hernandez, who lives across the street from Sharkie Park, said that although gang members occasionally congregate there, the park is used more often by neighborhood families. "I would hate to see that park go," Hernandez said.
Resident Maria Garcia agreed, beseeching the council: "Please help us--don't demolish our parks."
Bryant said he will not push for the parks' elimination if residents want to retain them, but added that neighbors must work to keep the parks safe.