Local News

Erwin Resident Wants Leveling Of Playing Field Between Town Parks

Posted September 20, 2005 8:44 a.m. EDT

— The Harnett County town of Erwin runs two parks. But Erwin residents said the two parks look different -- one is nice, and one is run down; one is old, and one is new.

The differences are "night and day," Erwin resident Troy Williams said.

And the differences, he said, may even be about black and white.

One is in a white part of town, and it has a large playground, ball fields and tennis courts, he said.

The other park is located in an area where more minorities live. This park has graffiti, port-a-potties and trash.

But what really brothers Williams, he said, is the exposed wires, beer bottles and a dead raccoon.

"I'm not going to say that this is a racial issue because I don't know. I can't get inside somebody's head," he said. "All I know is this is what you see on this side of town."

And Williams wants city leaders to do something about it.

William Leonard, the head of the Parks and Recreation Department for Erwin, said he tried to apply for grants to improve the park, but the town got turned down twice. Upgrades don't come cheap, he said.

The climbing dome in the park costs between $3,000 and $5,000; the slide costs about $20,000; and the lights cost more than $350,000. Even the so-called nice park has problems with the tennis courts and batting cages.

Williams said he sent a letter to the town manager offering suggestions on how to fix the park without spending more money. He said he has not heard back from town officials.

Still, Williams said he hopes to bridge the gap between the two parks. He said didn't want children playing in anyone's shadow.