To say that the Lubbock parks have been needing some TLC is quite the understatement.

Parents have been reporting exposed pipes, broken and missing pieces of playground equipment, and disheveled bathrooms for months. These issues are clearly a safety concern for our kids, making park time a bit less desirable.

The good news is that the City of Lubbock Parks and Recreation Department has heard the public's pleas and are making some very big strides to fix these issues.

In case you didn't know, in the spring of last year the federal government signed a bill allocating $15.8 billion dollars to the state of Texas through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA). This money was then portioned out to provide assistance with education, health, human services, disaster relief and other important programs across the state.

In regards to the city of Lubbock, our parks are going to get a noticeable remodel, with $7 million dollars going towards renovations and new amenities throughout the region. Now you may be thinking "Why haven't they started already? It has been a year!” It’s important to remember that these are federal funds. That means the city has to go through some red tape before being handed this big check.

Park Damage
Credit: Justin Massoud
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Colby VanGundy, director of Lubbock Parks and Recreation, stated that the city has been working tirelessly to examine all of the city's 83 parks and their attached facilities to determine exactly where these funds should go so that the citizens of Lubbock get the most out of this once in a lifetime funding.

“We put together a playground inspection report that basically ranked all of our playgrounds. The playgrounds were in pretty bad shape," VanGundy stated.

Park Damage
Credit: Justin Massoud
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Currently, the proposed plan has renovations on four of those sites for 2022, with five potential new playgrounds in the works. They also intend to replace five bathroom facilities, including the one at Maxey Park, which is a little worse for wear. There are also a slew of other bathrooms that will be receiving repairs and new paint jobs.

Park Bathroom
Credit: Justin Massoud
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"What we're trying to focus on is how can we break those down needs and consistently start making a stop to these problems,” VanGundy said. Additionally, they have proposed "$1.2 million worth of the walking trails that will be put in our parks. That will include 12 different parks and we're looking at two per council district.”

These are just a few of the major improvements that will be coming to our parks system between now and 2026. Final approvals for these proposed changes should go through this upcoming Tuesday, May 10th, 2022. That means that you could be seeing changes in the coming months.

Lubbock Citizens Also Need to Do Better

Obviously, we depend on our city leadership to make the necessary renovations and repairs to ensure the safety of our kids. However, some of the problems are being brought on by the residents. Lubbock is an amazing community and we can do better at respecting these public spaces.

Park Bathroom
Credit: Justin Massoud
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Not vandalizing bathrooms and leaving behind a mess is not a big ask. It’s actually common decency. The Parks Department sends people out to maintain the bathrooms, but they need your help. Don't leave toilet paper strewn across the toilets and floors. Put your trash in the appropriate receptacles. Flush the toilet. Be a decent human being.

Park Bathroom
Credit: Amber Massoud
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VanGundy also stated that they love getting feedback from the public and want to hear about problems as they arise.

“We've only got a certain amount of eyes, but we do have a community that has a ton of eyes,” he said. “Our staff really wants to know [about these problems.] It's a big job and any help that we can get from the public, we would be tremendously grateful."

They even have an app called SeeClickFix where you can report these issues.

Finally, as repairs get underway in the coming months, the city will be updating their social media pages so that parents can stay up-to-date and find other park locations to visit until the new facilities are ready for use.

Remember: this is a huge undertaking, so try to be patient as the Parks and Rec Department works hard to make our community a better place for our kids to explore and grow.

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