Residents along Old Howard Road fought a losing battle against trash.
They have worked on weekends to keep an area near the lakeshore considered to be a park clean, only to find it dumped on again. Those concerns were brought to the Waxahachie Park Board at its Thursday meeting.
“We used to get a lot of partying of Friday night after the game, but that has pretty much stopped. Now we are getting a lot of drug use. We are getting hypodermic needles, condoms, and a crack pipe. It is getting pretty bad the last few months,” resident David Bond said. “For three years we had two or three fishermen, and it was fine. They would come once or twice a week. Now it is almost every weekend night, and there are three or four cars parked and they are down there till 2 or 3’o clock in the morning.”
Bond explained that they have talked to the police department who has informed them that they are going to start patrolling the area a little bit more often. He expressed that residents would like to have a permanent solution to the situation.
Fellow resident Crystal Taylor shared Bond’s thoughts about the ongoing situation and the danger that it poses to the residents.
“We bought property down there a little over a year ago and it has been constant. We have been going down there on the weekends and picking up trash. It is substantial and it keeps accumulating,” Taylor stated. “We have had instances where we have gone to pick up trash down there and people are dropping the trash right in front of us with complete disregard to what we are trying to do.”
Taylor continued, stating during one of the times they were cleaning up the park that they had to use a shovel to dig out the accumulated pile of beer bottles. She estimated that they have taken out 40-50 industrial size garbage bags worth of trash. Other items residents have removed from this area include furniture, tires, clothing, and baby toys.
The item was not listed on Thursday's agenda for discussion or action so the board could not comment on the matter. It was agreed to put the issue on the agenda for the next meeting that takes place on Jan. 4.
Director of Parks and Recreation John Smith told the board this property is owned by the city.
“It is city property and that is a city road that goes to that shoreline, but it has not been dedicated as a park. Although these people are using it as a park, it shouldn’t be. We have been having a really difficult time in what can we block off, and what can we not allow there and so on and so on,” Smith explained. “Everybody has the right to gain access to our public right of way. I do believe that this is a larger police matter. We are going to put this on the next agenda. I would encourage the park board to visit that area.”
Smith stated that coming to the park board was an excellent place to bring this concern. He said that he going to work to get the right people at next meeting to discuss options for the situation.
Waxahachie Police Chief Wade Goolsby stated that officers will be keeping a closer watch on the situation on Old Howard Road at this time by adding a few extra patrols in the area.
The next Parks Board meeting is scheduled at 3 p.m. on Jan. 4 in the city council conference room at City Hall. City Hall is located at 401 S. Rogers Street in downtown Waxahachie.