Citizens Concerned Over Condition of Memorial Gardens Park

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA--The Odessa Parks and Recreation Department says they have some big plans currently underway for the park.

You cant drive down East 42nd Street and not notice the pond at Memorial Gardens Park.  The water level is so low, you can see the bottom.  Many of our viewers have been calling and leaving messages on our Facebook page, wanting to know what's going on.

People tell NewsWest 9, this is the lowest they've ever seen the water level at Buffalo Wallow and their concern is as great as everyone else's.

"I was really surprised to see how little water there was, because, the last time I was here, it was full, up to the grass," Chris, who's in town from Utah, visiting her grandchildren, said.

At a time of day when you would normally find several people walking around, Chris and her family were the only ones.

"Well, of course, the water is all gone and it's very stinky. There's a lot of ducks around but not as many as there could be, if the water were fuller," she said.

"It makes me feel sad because I remember, years ago, the water was up to the grass. Now, pretty much all you can see is rock," Chris' granddaughter, Kaitlyn, said.

Even Kaitlyn's little brothers can't help but feel down when they see the condition the park is currently in.

"Sad, because there's no geese," Josh said.

"So sad. (How come?) Because I really like ducks and the water is all..(gone?) Yeah, gone," Jake said.

The low level of the water is due, in part, to the lack of rain. But the City of Odessa has other plans for the future of this old watering hole.

According to Odessa Parks and Recreation Director, Steve Patton, "Wave action has actually eroded away the banks. You can go there and you can see there are tree roots sticking out in the middle of the air, where the slumped off bank has eroded away."

The work has been going on for a few weeks now and the plans are to make this a better place to hang out.

"We're going to shore up those banks with chain rock called gabbings, so that the longevity of those banks will stay in place and we won't lose the sidewalks. With the water level being so low, this is the opportunity to go in there and put the erosion stabilization in place, fix it the way it needs to be and then we'll fill the pond up," Patton explained.

That's just fine for those that love to do just that.

"I think it's well worth whatever it's costing the city to take care of it," Chris said.

"I think that's a good idea, that they're trying to fight it. I'm pretty sure that a lot of people love this pond," Kaitlyn added.

There is no set date for the completion of this project. Patton says, now that they have all the material they need, work can continue on at a regular pace. The end result will be a permanent fix so they won't have to go back and do it again.