SAN ANGELO, Texas – At Tuesday’s city council meeting, San Angelo NAACP Chapter President Sherley Spears spoke about Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. Specifically, what the park needs, and doesn’t need. Portable restrooms have been used at the park for nearly 20 years. Prior to that, there were brick-and-mortar facilities. Spears says there’s a lot of chatter surrounding the park, and why it hasn’t been updated.
“We want those porta-potties out of there,” said Spears. “There are a lot of new modules available to put in restrooms and public parks. There is some disagreement I think in terms of whether or not it’s a neighborhood park or community park; we were told it’s a community park. Always was a community park, which is why it had a restrooms to begin with. Various myths have floated around around, such as crime and that type of thing as to why they took it out. But that is not what the Parks and Recreation Director told us, nor is it a substantiated by what the Chief of Police told us.”
Some sources define a “community park” as typically being around 20 acres, and serving the surrounding community up to three miles out. Meanwhile, a “neighborhood park” can be up to 10 acres, and serve the area around it up to a half mile out. MLK Jr. Memorial Park is about 4 acres, but city officials seem to be leaning towards installing standard restrooms again at some point.
“The city will take a look at making sure we estimate what the current costs of that would be,” said current San Angelo Parks and Recreation Director Carl White. “Revisiting it as part of the Capital Improvement Plan which, which is an annually updated plan, which is reviewed every year by city council.”
The park is located on the north side of San Angelo, near the local NAACP chapter headquarters. The organization has a petition with 500 signatures demanding action. This, after the organization attempted to hold outdoor events at the park during the NAACP State Convention, and was unable due to the lack of restrooms.