CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The controversial proposed ordinance for Blucher Park is drawing some opposition for people who claim it targets the homeless population. However, there are those who are in support of the changes including members of a group who have helped maintain the park for nearly 30 years.
Every Monday, members of the Audubon Outdoor Club come to Blucher Park. In years past, they would be able to focus on things like trimming bushes and trees to clear pathways or planting flowers for the public to view.
However, club member Karen Smith says that has all changed in the past year.
"It got to the point where all we ended up doing was spending two and a half hours picking up trash and even that wasn't enough," Smith told KRIS 6 News.
Smith says club members clear up items like trash bags, blankets, sleeping bags every week. These are all items that would be banned from Blucher Park, if the proposed city ordinance passes. It would also change the closing time to 8 p.m.
Smith acknowledges that would impact the homeless, but she doesn't necessarily think that population is being singled out.
She explains, "This ordinance does not ban people. The ordinance bans behavior that is destroying the park."
Smith says that destruction extends to the trees, flowers and plants that attract the public and the many birds that draw visitors from all over the world.
"All of those things have to be there for this park to continue to be a world-renowned birding spot," Smith said. "Not just Corpus, not just Texas, not just the United States but all over the world."
"The Blucher family deeded over this park for Corpus Christi citizens to come and commune with nature. They also wanted a place where birds could come and rest and drink and get some nourishment on their migration north and south every year," Smith added.
The Audubon Outdoor Club is encouraged that the city is stepping up to try to restore the park, commending the Corpus Christi Police Department for their help in getting the ordinance drafted and presented to city council.
"They're very interested in the park and hoping that they can keep it nice for the citizens of Corpus Christi."
In addition to banning certain items from Blucher Park, the proposed ordinance would designate it for special use as a birding park. The city council is scheduled to take a second and final vote on the ordinance during its Tuesday meeting.