‘What has to happen before something happens?’
WM councilman airs concerns about conditions, behavior at Rowe Park
By Don Wilburn
The focus of last Thursday’s West Memphis City Council meeting quickly turned to “quality of life” crimes plaguing the city with a concentrated focus one specific spot in the community — that being William M. Rowe Park.
Rowe Park, located on North 11th Street, has been a sore spot for residents living in the immediate vicinity. The city has received complaints going back months of loud music, guns, violence, profanity and vandalism by adults in a park meant for children.
“It’s getting worse” said councilman Dr. Gheric Bruce before asking for the basketball goals at the park to be taken down. “it’s getting hot, some constituents reported seeing guns and called the police department. I don’t know if they made the scene. I’m not here to bash any of our departments, but if we cant get anybody dispatched, there’s a problem. It’s just bad. What has to happen before something happens?”
Dr. Bruce continued citing other complaints from residents in the area included loud music, balls hitting fences often damaging them, vulgar language, and that people could not get into and out of their driveways because of the cars parked on the street.
Mayor McClendon, clearly frustrated and responding passionately said that in his opinion, “Taking down the
See ROWE, page A3
From page A1
barriers, driving across the park, doing donuts and burnouts on the court and that he could not even stand outside in his yard on Mother’s Day with his 81 year old mother because of all the yelling and vulgar language coming from nearby.
“These guys have got high powered rifles. I asked a guy to stop throwing bottles against my fence and he had an assault rifle in his backpack.” said Holmes “I called the police and according to them, if he wasn’t doing anything, then they can’t address it. All of this 40 yards from my window. If shutting the park down will eliminate the problem, then so be it. We didn’t want to put up a fence, we wanted to be able to watch the kids play, but we can’t. You cant even relax on a Sunday. It’s used to be a good place to live, people want to build houses there. It’s great, it doesn’t flood, close to the interstate but that’s what we deal with. No peace. That’s what we are crying out for.
Peace. We are crying out for relief.”
The council then proceeded to discuss the matter further and ignoring the Mayor’s advice and requests to close down the park entirely decided, for now, it would be best to take the goals down, put the barriers back up and monitor the situation for 90 days to see if conditions might improve. If not, the council says they intend to shut the park down.