Safety of Weslaco parks examined

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POSTED: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 - 5:28pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 10:33am

Weslaco city parks are unsafe. 

That's the claim by Greg Ayala, who made a stink about it with city leaders.  

"If a child comes in running and hits their head in this area, it's definitely unsafe," Ayala said as he showed off a piece of plywood covering an unfinished slide at Gibson Park.  

You can find the slide with a broken swing and a slide without paint at the park.  In the Texas heat, the exposed metal on the slide can scald a child.  

Ayala has been a crusader against what he says is dangerous playground equipment.  City officials don't see it the same way.  

"The parks of Weslaco are safe. Absolutely safe. We have hundreds of people who use them on a daily basis," said Weslaco City Manager Leo Olivares. "We're proud of our parks system. Certainly there's always more that can be done." 

Olivares said city employees visit each park every day and they meet all standards. Ayala disagreed. He took his complaints to state officials in Austin. Potentially costing Weslaco state grant money. Later, the Weslaco City Commission voted him off the Parks board. 

"It's not about me," Ayala said. "It's about what the taxpayers demand. And we demand safe parks. Not only safe parks, but parks we can be proud of." 

Olivares declined to comment about Ayala and the Parks Advisory Board. Ayala said he can find something wrong with all five city parks, but said Gibson Park is in the worst condition. 
For his part, Olivares insists there are no code or legal violations. 

"Our parks and facilities meet code, we continually inspect them, every time there's an issue, we look at it. We address it. We take immediate action," Olivares said. "Believe me, if there's an issue with the parks, we would hear from the public."  

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