Mayor Donna Smith promised residents this week that the City Council will not vote to bulldoze two city parks, as recommended by Councilman C.L. (Clay) Bryant.
Last month, Bryant said the city should raze Cherrieville and Sharkie parks, which are named for the city's two oldest gangs. Bryant said the parks, built with federal funds in 1972 to provide young people with alternatives to gang violence, had instead become havens for gang activity and drug dealing.
The council referred the matter to the Parks and Recreation Commission, which held a public hearing on the future of Sharkie Park on Tuesday night. Residents who spoke at the hearing wanted to keep the park, saying it was used by families much more than by gang members.
After the hearing, Smith told the residents that they had nothing to worry about. "I honestly, honestly would stake my life that there are not three votes (on the City Council) to bulldoze those parks," Smith said.
Residents recommended several measures to stem gang activity at the parks, including increased patrols and changing their names to disassociate them from gangs. A public hearing on Cherrieville Park will be held Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers.