SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. — Neighbors upset about the shape of a community park are taking the matters into their own hands.
There is a baseball field in Woodstock Park, but it’s buried under about three feet of grass. Students at Woodstock Middle School haven’t been able to use it in years, and until Tuesday neighbors say the entire park was a jungle.
The park is next to Alice Saddler’s son’s house. She says on Tuesday, her son and a neighbor got out their riding lawn mowers and went to work.
“They were tired of looking at it. It’s an eyesore, and it’s right behind the middle school. It would look like your your if you didn’t cut it and didn’t rake the grass. It would look just like that.”
We saw children on the track Wednesday. Some were playing in the area that was mowed.
Neighbors say benches in the park are also in bad shape or missing, the playground area is a mess and the park isn’t for kids to use in the summer.
“We realize we shouldn’t have to do it, but the ones who are supposed to be doing it aren’t doing it,” Thomas Saddler said.
Neighbors say this park has been a problem ever since city and county school merged. But they say, even then, someone would cut the grass periodically. They say no one has touched it so far this year.
Property records show Woodstock Park is owned by Shelby County. But on Wednesday, the county told us that Shelby County Schools owns the land and county government maintains it.
Hours later, a spokesperson for Shelby County Schools released a statement saying, “The referenced park near Woodstock Middle School is not Shelby County Schools property. From our understanding the land is owned by the Shelby County Conservation Board.”
The statement goes on to say that district officials are exploring the possibility of “transition of property/grounds maintenance from the County to SCS.”
Neighbors say they just want someone to take care of it so they don’t have to.
A spokesperson for the county told us Parks and Grounds cut the trails at the park last week. They are supposed to cut the ball field Wednesday. County officials didn’t address other problems at the park.