Tensions flare at public meeting on improvements to Sears Park

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ABILENE, Texas (KTAB) – A conversation on improvements to Arthur Sears Park grew heated at points Tuesday night as residents aired impassioned complaints at a small public meeting inside the park’s recreation center.

The meeting of roughly 20 people, mostly parks and recreation staff or elected city leaders, met to share what they would like improved at the sprawling park on Ambler Avenue.

The meeting is one of several taking place this month ahead of the City Council’s budget workshop on July 27th in which funds will expectantly be divvied up for the city’s many programs and projects.

Attendees shared grievances on everything from the upkeep of the park’s baseball diamond’s concession stand to extra lighting among the walking trail. But at times the civility of the meeting’s discourse seemed thin as voices of both residents and city leaders in attendance became raised toward the end of the meeting.

Despite the turbulence, the hour-long meeting was not a failure, says Director of Community Services for the City of Abilene, Lesli Andrews. She says feedback from Tuesday’s meeting is not falling on deaf ears and will be taken into consideration at future civic meetings.

“Even if it’s only a handful of people take the time to come out and express it’s important for staff to hear that,” said Andrews.

Another park conversation is set to take place at 6 pm, Tuesday, July 20th at The Boys and Girls Club of Abilene on North 10th Street. This conversation will be about improvements to Lee Park.

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