— Ileana Desalos, Contributor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Now that the cooler weather is here we will be getting more people coming to the park to play, picnic and have celebrations. I just wanted to ask everyone that happens to be at the park to help be the eyes (and voice) for the neighborhood if you are out there and see someone not respecting the rules of our neighborhood park. Some of the things that you could help with are:
If you see someone littering, ask them to pick it up or to put it in an empty trash can instead of next to a full one. We can help to educate the people who visit our neighborhood park about the importance of picking up after themselves.
Call the HPD non-emergency number (713) 884-3131 if you see:
- A car parked in the park
- See/smell someone doing drugs in the park
- Someone in the park after hours (the posted hours are 6am-11pm
**All the park rules are posted at the park
Here is a great example of taking of one of our neighbors being very proactive:
One of the our neighbors that regularly walks his dogs at Jaycee Park recently confronted a chronic litterer. The man would come to the park often and around the same times and ALWAYS throw his trash on the ground as well as spit huge piles of tobacco next to a bench on the concrete pad (just inches away from the grass). Well, one afternoon this resident picked up the empty bottle which the man had just thrown on the ground and tapped on his car window and asked the guy why he would litter when there was a trash can just a few feet away. The resident asked “Don’t you care about this park and keeping it and Houston clean?” The man eventually apologized to the resident for his actions. The resident then persistently called the HPD non-emergency number, left a message at the Heights Storefront and notified me. I sent a message to the Parks and Recreation Department reporting the hours that the person littering was typically at the park and they dispatched a park ranger to be there for one week within those hours. The Result: the littering man has not been back to the park. Why would he if he is knew he was going to be held accountable for littering every time he was there?
Our hope: Little by little, people will get the message that if they want to do these kinds of things they will have to go to another park. Maintaining the kind of park you would like to visit is up to all of us.
It is up to all of us to help make sure the rules of the park are followed (they are posted on the big green signs). HPD and the Parks Department cannot not do it all for us because they are not there, but they appreciate us being the eyes at the park and they will support us the best that they can.