GARLAND — After having a grand opening in the summer for a new park, town officials have plans to continue that progress throughout town.
During a recent meeting, the Garland Board of Commissioners discussed developments for the Curtis D. Cain Memorial Park, which was built on land donated by Connie Cain Rackley. Mayor Winifred Murphy reported that poles for a basketball court were installed during the Community Fair earlier this month. Poles have to sit in cement for several days before goals are placed.
“It was a beautiful day on the court,” Murphy said. “In addition to it being a basketball court, it was just the perfect place to have programs and things like that.”
The basketball courts were disputed for several years, with some commissioners split on the idea. Supporters felt it would benefit the community, while others believed it may bring criminal activity to the park.
Murphy made a suggestion to have more activities such as the traditional street dance during the Community Fair, which is usually held in the center of town.
The court is just one phase of the park. There is a possibility that town leaders may add bleachers for the court in the future. More long range plans for the park include a walking track, picnic tables, trash receptacles and a permanent bathroom to replace the portable one. Currently, playground equipment is available for children.
“Children can walk while their children are playing and we want more benches,” Murphy said. “That’s why we’re trying to raise more money for the park.”
In addition to residents using the park, Murphy said the town is receiving a request from Union Elementary School to use the facility in November for pre-kindergarten children. They also plan to visit the library as well.
“It’s generating a lot of excitement,” Murphy said, noting parents to whom she has spoken.
During the discussions, Commissioner Ralph Smith added that a service box leftover from Rotary International is available to supply more power to the park for special events.
In addition to the park, the commissioners are also taking action on repairing buildings. The town’s clock and water fountain were recently fixed as well.
Mayor encounters pitbulls
Murphy addressed the commission about pit bulls housed, inside a pen, on the town’s shop property.
The matter was part of an emergency meeting Thursday night to discuss personnel and an agenda item listed as “Dangerous Breed of Dog on Town Property.”
According to Murphy, Commissioner Ralph Smith authorized the dogs to be housed there. Murphy said she noticed the dogs and spoke with Smith about her concerns. She questioned if the situation should be a board decision and it was once discussed during a closed session.
Murphy stressed that she talked with Smith about liability issues too. There was also legal advice from Board Attorney Michael Porter to not have the dogs on Garland property. Another suggestion was to have the dogs at another location and check with the insurance company.
“All board members felt it was OK to leave the dogs and no action was taken against it, even though our attorney advised that they shouldn’t be there,” Murphy said.
The mayor visited the shop Wednesday afternoon.
“Within just a couple on minutes, both dogs were running from the front part of the shop and barking towards me in lightning speed in attack mode and surrounded me on both sides,” she said. “So I ask at this time, do you still plan to take no action as a board on the dangerous breed of dogs — two pit bulls on town property who could physically assault anyone, me, children, anyone in the area or (Department of Transportation) workers that might be going in there?”
Commissioner S.J. Smith said the board previously came to an agreement to remove the dogs within a few days. Following a motion by Ralph Smith, the board agreed not to have dogs on town property unless they are dogs caught in traps for a short period of time.
Following the vote, Murphy said an incident involving her husband followed when she panicked. Murphy holds the board responsible for personal liability and did not want to go into detail regarding the matter. The actual owner of the dogs was not mentioned during the meeting.
“I have a $300 estimate for my truck and there may be some other related expenses,” she said. “That’s all I‘ve got to say about that.”
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