Friday, March 13, 2009

Memorial Park - a Community Park - Slated To Get Basketball Courts

We are fortunate to have two parks to call our own. First, our neighborhood park and namesake: Newman Park. Second, Memorial Park - a designated City of El Paso community park that serves all the surrounding neighborhoods including our own.

Probably all of us in the Newman Park Neighborhood Association have used facilities at Memorial Park many times: the library, the aquatic center, the tennis courts and the park itself.

There are four tennis courts there now. After listening to people who use the Memorial Community Park and receiving their petition, Representative Susie Byrd has proposed that two of the tennis courts be converted to basketball courts thus meeting the needs of more constituents. There are Department of Community and Human Development funds for this project.

As always, there is resistance from a few members of the Manhattan Heights Neighborhood Association who see the park as a neighborhood park exclusive to themselves and their vision of the historic nature of the neighborhood. They propose to re-do the four tennis courts and for there to be no other accommodations for other sports.
A CDBG meeting to consider the proposals is scheduled for Wednesday, March 25th, at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.
District 2 submitted a petition with signatures to make it a 'multipurpose' court and that is what the Department of Parks and Recreation accepted. Parks could not justify spending almost $400k for just tennis courts. Multi-use would accommodate a lot more kids and what they like to do.
Members of the public are invited to attend since what happens at a community park involves many more neighborhoods and people than just the Manhattan Heights neighborhood who often play the "historic" card when it comes to change.

To be fair, if we are going to play that historic card, then let us tear down the aquatic center and rebuild the old swimming hole that so many of us knew growing up. Let us remodel the modern library and cafe facility to be exactly as it was when Mrs. Conrad Bryson was the head librarian and a camera as big as an office copier photographed all checked out books and user cards. In fact, let's start a new smelter on the top hill. After all, the Federal Copper Refinery was the only prominent feature in this area at one time.

Yes, let's keep all tennis courts. Kids in this neighborhood today play tennis exclusively and long for the time when they can become polo players and belong to the Beverly Hills Country Club and talk about credit swaps and other financial derivatives. Who wants to play basketball? There's always tagging.

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