11-year-old advocates change for Phenix City park conditions

11-year-old advocates change for Phenix City park conditions

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) - When you come to Southside Park in Phenix City, Alabama, you can see the children playing but it's not all fun and games.

Residents in the area say a large part of the park is closed off with caution tape and boards. They say there is paint rusted on some of the equipment and even complaints of a broken swing.

Eleven-year-old Annabelle White says she wants to be an advocate for change. In a video she insisted her mother post on Facebook, she says it shouldn't be an issue.

"We deserve better. First of all, that thing over there is chipping off paint and it hurts our hands so bad that it gets skinned up at the end of the day. So Phenix City, we deserve better and let's get it started," says  Annabelle.

Her mother Cara Lynn Davis-White says they have been contacting park officials since last summer about issues at the park, and nothing has been done.

"We reached out to them several times and they just continuously give us the runaround. They never give us an answer. They just say they'll look into it and they'll try to come up with a plan, but there's never an answer," Davis-White says.

Todd Hughes, the director of Phenix City Parks and Recreation, says the current repairs are a result of vandalism and they're working on it as fast as possible. He says the broken swing has been repaired and is looking to have repairs to the rest of the park as soon as two weeks from today. He says the delay comes after the wrong part was ordered for the swing which basically started the process over.

"One of the reps came over and looked at the slides today, as a matter of fact, and he's going back to his office to see if there's a way we can expedite the process a little bit to get the playground back up and functional," says Hughes.

Hughes says problems are rarely ever reported to the city, and the sooner they're notified of an issue the faster they can resolve it. The children in the area say they hope this doesn't lead to a larger problem in the future.

"Sooner or later they're probably going to close the whole thing down and we'll just have that," says common-goer Heaven Renae.

"If people see something that's not right, reach out to us at the Parks and Recreation Department and we'll be happy to reach out to them, meet them, and see if we can assist them with their complaints," says Hughes.

Annabelle says she will be presenting an agenda to the Phenix City Council at one of their upcoming meetings.

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