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MARY MEAUX — Striving to bridge news gap; virtual town hall set for March 10

Our area is pretty lucky to have local news sources.

Some areas suffer in a sort of “news desert,” where there are no local media sources. That means unless there’s a natural disaster or major news event, there is no coverage of what the city or school board is doing. There is no reporting of property taxes or a school bond and how it affects the everyday citizen.

And certainly there are no “feel good” stories about Little League coaches or teachers going above and beyond or no heart warming stories to take your mind off the sometimes-gloomy national and world news. No reporting on the fundraiser for a cancer patient or of assistance needed for the family that lost everything in a fire.

So unless something very out of the ordinary happens, those big city newspaper or television folks aren’t going to ride into town.

The media often gets criticized, saying we have some sort of agenda. The answer is no. We must verify sources; get people on the record and hold our elected officials accountable.

We attend the city council and school board meetings; we research the topics and speak with people to learn what is important and present that to readers.

As the May 1 election approaches, the Port Arthur News and Lamar University are co-sponsoring a virtual town hall meeting aimed at educating the city’s voters on a parks proposition.

The online event is set for 3 to 4 p.m. March 10 and can be viewed live on the newspaper’s and university’s Facebook pages.

The event features Mayor Pro Tem Charlotte Moses and a representative from the city’s parks department as they provide information and answer questions about the upcoming ballot proposition to reallocate $1 million per year for three years of sales tax revenue from the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation to be used to upgrade parks at Rose Hill and Adams, as well improve the senior recreation center.

If approved, the proposition would come with the possibility of a three-year extension.

Plans include making Adams Park and Rose Hill Park into premier parks where Adams would take the lead and become a sporting destination of sorts with baseball, softball, football and soccer fields as well as a cricket field along with the associated amenities.

Rose Hill Park will sport a covered pavilion, restrooms, lighting, art pieces, walking trails and inclusive park features, according to information from the city.

Funding will also go to refresh and renovate the city’s senior recreation center, part of which is housed in what was once the YMCA.

To sum it all up, this upcoming virtual town hall is a way for voters to become informed as well as a way for us to reach out to our community.

Mary Meaux is a news reporter at The Port Arthur News. She can be reached at mary.meaux@panews.com.