Resident expresses frustration with lack of Eagles Park progress; city leaders respond, talk next steps

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Robert Petisca is just as concerned about Eagles Park as he was in September.

The reason for his concern centers on the youth of the Port Acres area, where the park is located, as well as other city parks and youth in Port Arthur.

Petisca reiterated his words from months ago and that he was told the action he was requesting was doable.

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“At this point nothing has been done,” Petisca told councilmembers Tuesday morning. “When are we going to take a stand and help these kids? They don’t have a decent place for activities.”
Eagles Park is located at the corner of 59th Street and Hazel Street, and in the past has been the site for community picnics, gatherings and cleanups.

But there are needs at the park. Petisca said he’d like to see basketball goals, a water fountain, some shade and more playground equipment.

The completion of a parking lot so visitors won’t have to walk through mud to get to a restroom, lighting repairs, mitigation of flooding and trees are also needed, he said.

“These kids, if they don’t have a place to go and let out frustrations, will become mischievous and start doing other things that are against the law,” Petisca said.

District 4 Councilman Harold Doucet asked if the city had a list of projects and a plan to spend $1 million.

In 2021, voters in the city approved a ballot proposition to put $1 million into city park improvement.

City Manager Ron Burton said there have been public hearings to allow residents to give input into a master plan for the parks.

Doucet sees some of the issues at Eagles Park as maintenance issues and wonders if there is a budget item in place for parks maintenance. The answer is yes.

Mayor Pro Tem Tiffany Hamilton, standing in for Mayor Thurman Bartie, said staff received estimates for repairs to the park, which total $154,000.

“Your concerns are not being ignored and the citizens’ concerns are not being ignored,” Hamilton said.

Chandra Alpough, director of parks and recreation, said she expects to receive a preliminary master plan by the end of the week. The residents of Port Acres, she added, were very responsive in providing input into what they wanted.