Residents call for upkeep at Farmersville Liberty Park

(Rigo Moran)

Farmersville residents express concerns over unsafe sports fields in Liberty Park, call for recreation maintenance amidst city’s budget constraints

FARMERSVILLE – As the springtime season comes into bloom, Farmersville residents have raised their concerns about the current state of Liberty Park.

On March 12, the residents took to the Farmersville City Council meeting to voice concerns about the sports fields in Liberty Park, which they said needs some serious maintenance. Many of the residents explained they feel as though the fields are unsafe for the residents to use, particularly for sporting events.

“We need to find long-term funding sustainability for our parks,” Freddie Espinosa said. “I’m ready to see other parks coming back to life, like Roy’s Park, but what about the park in the middle of town?”

He continued to explain that he feels as though the city expects the residents to maintain the parks.

“The city leaves it to volunteers of the community to come together to clean up the baseball fields. But is that truly the responsibility we would like to leave on our friends and family, who are already working hard to organize the leagues whether it’s baseball, soccer or football,” Espinosa said.

Three concerned residents started off public comment with display boards full of pictures of Liberty Park, filled with tall uncut grass and weeds. Multiple residents said the fields were filled with trash, broken glass and homeless residents.

“We’ve been going out there, turning up the dirt…trying to get baseball and softball fields ready for the season… A lot of the dirt has holes where these kids can get hurt,” Veronica Torrez said.

Community member Crystal Rodriguez Lopez explained she lives next to Liberty Park and takes her mother and children walking there. She recalled that recently her mother twisted her ankle due to the tall grass and couldn’t walk for a while.

One community member, Ricardo Maldonado, noted that he and other residents spend time all year long trying to keep the soccer fields looking nice, but it is more work than they can keep up with.

Many residents also explained how the fields are now dangerous to continue using for the kid’s sporting events because gopher holes and tripping hazards are no longer able to be seen.

The residents asked the council to contract some sort of lawn care company to upkeep the fields so they can be used once again. Community member Miguel Santana explained he wants his kids to have the same happy memories he had participating in sports growing up, and a lawn care service is a good way to make that possible for the kids of Farmersville.

He also noted that the city has already invested in many other projects that have benefitted Farmersville in recent years, such as new housing and businesses in town.

“Let us make the city of Farmersville complete, and complement this growth and progress by making park maintenance a priority,” Santana said.

However, according to City Manager Jennifer Gomez, the city simply doesn’t have lawn service in the budget this year.

No, we do not have the additional funds to add more services at this time,” Gomez said. “Our public works staff have been really occupied on several projects, so when those come to an end in the next few months, then they will be able to spend more time maintaining the parks as part of their daily operations.”

This comes around the same time that the city is wrapping up major projects at Farmersville Sports Park and Roy’s Park. Gomez explained in past interviews with The Sun-Gazette that Freedom Field, which is part of Farmersville Sports Park, is still closed for its 90-day maintenance period following construction, and is expected to reopen in April.

Roy’s Park is also still under construction as the city is trying to put in new bleachers before the sports leagues start.

Farmersville Sports Park, which includes Freedom Field, has been under construction for many years. The Farmersville Sports Park is a 25-acre project that had to be split into five phases due to the large amount of work and funding it required. Freedom Field, which is next to Freedom Drive, will have a large grassy area, picnic tables, a community plaza and ADA accessible parking.

To celebrate the reopening of these new and improved sites, Gomez said the parks will have ribbon-cutting ceremonies upon their official reopenings. The dates for the ceremonies will be set once it is confirmed that all the plants and grass are settled in the ground following the maintenance.

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