Odessa's Iconic Park Costing Taxpayers Unnecessary Money

Odessa's Iconic Park Costing Taxpayers Unnecessary Money

Anum Valliani
NewsWest 9 

ODESSA - The Memorial Gardens Park in Odessa may be considered one of the most scenic parts of the city, but it's best seen from afar. If you get too close, chances are good that you'll see piles of trash.

Steve Patton, who is the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Odessa, says the retail areas surrounding the pond and their parking lots are making it more likely to get trashed.

"The runoff is quicker, faster and more volume into Memorial Gardens, so just as of few minutes ago we had a shower, just that amount will bring in an abundance of trash," he explained. "A few grocery carts and some bigger items, we've had some furniture and things like that."

He added that he'd more regularly see takeout cartons and used diapers floating around on the grounds.

Workers clean up the place two-three times a week. When it rains, they make sure to come back out the very next day, where they spend, "hours upon hours cleaning up the trash," Patton said.

Each of those days, Patton said labor costs add up to around a couple of thousand dollars.

"We're talking about a situation to where it's much larger than just that particular site. The problem is trash throughout our community and we spend a good deal of taxpayer's money picking up trash," he said.

That ultimately wastes resources that could be used towards beautifying other parts of Odessa.

Patton said there is something that can be done; disposing trash in their proper containers instead of throwing it out the window or leaving it in the parking lots to wash up into the waterways would be a great benefit not only to the look of the community but also to the taxpayers.

Additional help could stem from increasing volunteers to help with the cleanup. Currently, there are a few organizations already lending a hand.

Memorial Gardens isn't the only problem area in town. Officials said the Comanche Trail area can actually be a lot worse. Patton described it as something along the lines of cleaning the park from end to end and then realizing they have to start right back at the beginning. Regardless of where the problem is, or how intense it can get, officials just want people to take a little more pride in the city.