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Protest group hopeful for no park ordinance vote

Posted at 9:37 PM, Sep 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-23 23:50:11-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Tx. — Protesters think they've convinced the Corpus Christi City Council to cancel a vote tomorrow that likely would have approved an ordinance for Blucher Park that they say is discriminatory against the homeless.

"We feel confident that the council will table this agenda item and not bring it to a vote tomorrow morning," community activist Mimosa Thomas said.

Thomas and other protesters had planned to camp out at City Hall to continue the protest they started with a rally Monday afternoon. Community members representing a number of organizations that benefit the homeless spoke out in opposition to the ordinance.

"We're asking that this ordinance be delayed so community organizations including the people who are currently unsheltered can be part of a solution that meets everyone's needs," community activist Angela Leach said.

People who are formerly homeless also spoke out at the protest. One man accused the city council of discrimination.

"They're sitting there targeting the homeless population," Melvin Kimbrel said. "It's a direct affront to them."

Hours of meetings with city leaders and community groups followed the protest. Thomas says that included a meeting with Jermel Stevenson, the director of Parks and Recreation, the city department that sponsored the proposed Blucher Park ordinance.

"There was a great deal of mutual understanding," Thomas said of the meeting with Stevenson. "The director agreed to forward the request to table [the ordinance vote] to the council and the city manager in the morning before the council meeting."

It's unclear if protesters met with City Council Member Everett Roy. Blucher Park falls within his district, and when asked about the ordinance in the early afternoon Monday, he spoke in favor of it.

"I'm pretty sure that it should pass," Councilman Everett said. "I think it's the right thing to do."

Mayor Joe McComb also expressed support for the ordinance Monday afternoon. He sent KRIS 6 a copy of the deed the Blucher Family signed over to the city when donating the land for the park in 1942.

"The premises shall always be kept in attractive condition and not permitted to become a nuisance in any manner." The deed reads.

McComb says that's why the ordinance should pass, and Roy agrees.

"People are going to the restroom right there on the ground," Roy said of the park. "They're just doing things that really are a public nuisance."