Alpha Lambda Rho of LSC-PA cuts ribbon, adopts park

Published 7:00 pm Monday, October 25, 2010

Members of the Alpha Lambda Rho chapter at Lamar State College-Port Arthur brushed back their hair against gusty winds as they gathered around a new unpolished picnic table Monday afternoon. They were there to get a better look at their newly adopted park. 

The weather seemed perfect for the occasion. A glint of sunlight every so often put the perfect touch on Phi Theta Kappa’s ribbon cutting celebration at Montgomery Park in Port Arthur.

Barbara Huval, faculty advisor at Lamar State, said she is already pleased with the adoption. As she sat at the desert sand colored table nibbling picnic appropriate refreshments, she paused and inspiration seemed to guide her thoughts.

“I think this is one of the most exciting projects we have done in a long time,” Huval said while quaffing a can of cherry-limeade Minute Maid. “We always do community service but this time is so new and fresh that it’s more exciting.”

In an effort to provide on-going community services for Port Arthur, Marilyn Dartest, former president of the chapter, spearheaded the project so families could have a place to socialize and students, faculty and staff could contribute to Mayor Deloris Prince’s One Block at a Time project.

“I wanted to do something in honor of Mayor Prince and Dr. (Sam) Monroe (LSC-PA president), so I called the Mayor and Dr. (Albert) Thigpen and they told me what to do to get this started,” Dartest said.

One could say she saw “the signs” that this project would happen.

“I saw a lot of signs that said ‘adopt a park’ so I decided it would be good to do it so families can meet, people can have meetings here and people at the college can go,” Dartest said.

Part of the Phi Theta Kappa chapter, an international honor society for students in two-year colleges, Alpha Lambda Rho decided to give the park a much-needed renovation. Trash was tossed out, the park bench has a new set of legs, and the large metallic swing set that sits directly in the center of the park is stable enough for children to feel safe. But there’s still much left to do.

Shayla Trahan, Alpha Lambda Rho president said the next order of business is to give the picnic table a touch up.

“The first thing we’re gonna do is paint the table blue,” Trahan said while scanning the rest of the park. “I can honestly say this is a work in progress.”

Trahan and Huval were already taking in the fruits of their labor. Both kicked up their feet and tapped into their adolescent years by giving the swing set a try.

A Lamar State College student walked onto the greenish-brown colored grass and shared a warm embrace with her faculty-friend, Dartest. Journey Green, stopped by the park to congratulate Dartest on the adoption.

“I think it’s a good idea because it’s one thing to get people together at your house but now people can get together at the park,” Green said. “It’s nice to have something at the park where family and friends can go. It’s come a long way.”

City leaders and members from Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce were also in attendance at the ribbon cutting.

Mary Ann Reid, president of the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, said the organization’s services show dedication to improving the city’s well-being.

“This is part of 20-20 vision,” Reid said. “It takes a vision to make things happen for this city, and you all are contributing to that vision. Thank you for what you have done.”

Albert Thigpen, The Parks and Recreation director, said that while Mayor Prince was unable to attend the event, she is still proud of what the organization has accomplished.

“The city is always interested in participating with other entities on making Port Arthur better and park adoption is certainly one mechanism in helping improve the quality of life in our city, and this organization is doing that,” Thigpen said.

The community is welcome to enjoy the park, Dinh Vo, Alpha Lambda Rho’s vice president said.

“I hope that everyone is willing to come by the park and enjoy it,” Vo said.

rbrown@panews.com