‘I’m ashamed of it:’ Citizens upset with lack of upkeep at Birmingham parks

Residents, city leaders upset with state of East Park Lake
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 10:21 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re officially in the summer months and more people are spending time outside. Some are sharing concerns about the lack of upkeep at several Birmingham parks.

“I grew up here all my life,” said Evon Hardin. “It was a great place to grow up so it’s a shame how this place went down hill. I’m ashamed of it.”

Hardin now lives in Pinson but comes back to East Lake Park often since he has so many good memories of it but he says he’s disappointed with how it looks now.

While visiting East Lake Park today, trash was found on the ground, weeds up to our knees, and even a broken utility pole.

“They don’t keep it up and people throw trash out and it’s amazing how things have changed,” said Hardin. “These trees are rotten. They could fall on your car and tear them up.”

Hardin says he calls the city about the many problems but his calls go unanswered.

One year ago, WBRC Fox 6 did a story about the lack of lighting at the park but that issue remains prevalent.

“East Lake Park is a good example of one of Birmingham’s oldest parks and one of the parks that we have consistently had problems with maintaining the lighting there as the copper has been stolen several times after we replace the lighting,” said Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams who represents District 2.

Williams says sometimes the parks go untreated because of a lack of funding and manpower.

“The City of Birmingham has over 114 parks and rec centers, some of which are in very close proximity to each other,” said Williams. “It is very difficult for us from a capital standpoint, from a fiscal standpoint, and a personnel standpoint to be able to keep those staffing levels and keep that capital into maintaining these different venues in parks and rec... We have to find a way as a city, in my opinion, to right-size our inventory so that we can have Grade-A parks and recreation space.”

Williams says he doesn’t want to get rid of any parks or rec spaces but just transform them.

“I think we need to revamp and relook at its purpose and I think that our citizens deserve better,” he said. “I think they deserve Grade-A parks and rec.”

There’s a fishing rodeo planned for East Lake Park next Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hardin says he hopes the park will be cleaned up by then for all the visitors.

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