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Nacogdoches group builds grassroots support for local parks

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Wendy Floyd
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Parks Advocacy League Nacogdoches

A group of Nacogdoches residents wants to improve the condition of parks in the city and get more people to use them.

The Nacogdoches Parks Advocacy League or PAL is a new community-action group. It’s organizing a series of meet-ups called “PAL in the Parks,” a monthly play date for families.

Beginning in September, “PAL in the Parks” will rotate through every one of the 12 parks in Nacogdoches, according to PAL president Mary Turner.

“We thought it would be great if we start hosting play dates at all the different parks to get people to know what we have. So, they can say, yes, we need a new slide at this park, or wouldn’t picnic tables be great here, or more trash cans, or whatever the need is,” Turner said, a mother of two young children. “They would also just be out in the parks and enjoying them with their kids.”

PAL is preparing to launch a 15-day online fundraising campaign on the site indiegogo. The group aims to raise $800 so it can move forward with filing for nonprofit status.

Turner says PAL initially approached the city about a splash pad, and those talks opened up a healthy discussion about the parks. Her group of mostly moms and dads learned that there’s little flexibility in Nacogdoches’ budget.

“While sales tax revenues are suffering, is it really fair to say, we’re not going to get a new fire truck because we have to get a slide? But, by the same token, we feel like the parks are the heart of our community. It’s one of the things that makes people want to stay, want to raise their families, work and live here,” Turner said.

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Credit Parks Advocacy League Nacogdoches Facebook
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Parks Advocacy League Nacogdoches

The city’s community services director Brian Bray has worked closely with PAL in recent months. He says passionate citizen involvement is the way to get any cause accomplished, and the city is appreciative the group is safeguarding playgrounds.

PAL in the Parks will be held Friday, Sept. 5, at Temple Park Spray Station from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. It’s the same day PAL begins its indiegogo campaign.

Chuck Smith brings more than 30 years' broadcast and media experience to Red River Radio. He began his career as a radio news reporter and transitioned to television journalism and newsmagazine production. Chuck studied mass communications at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia and motion picture / television production at the University of California at Los Angeles. He has also taught writing for television at York Technical College in Rock Hill, South Carolina and video / film production at Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport.