CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Seven-year-old Pryce O'Brien has hoop dreams. They're obvious when you ask the first grader if he can slam-dunk a basketball.
"Close," he replies with a smile.
Recently, though, his dream was disrupted when someone — or something — broke a hole in the backboard of the basketball goal at the court where he and his friends play.
“Whenever they broke it, it felt really sad," 8-year-old Nate Gonzalez said. "I don’t know what happened, but it breaks people’s hearts to see this.”
Pryce's parents bought and set up the now-damaged basketball goal.
His mother, who coaches the kids, said they did it because there aren't enough places in Flour Bluff for kids to play.
She's calling on city leaders to do something about it.
"Instead of spending millions of dollars on Cole Park — which is just a giant tourist attraction — they could spend money and put little parks in all these communities around the city," Kristen O'Brien said. "So kids can go outside and play again rather than sit inside."
It's that kind of input that Corpus Christi's interim parks and recreation director Dante Gonzalez said the city wants to receive.
He oversees 196 parks citywide, but sometimes the amenities they offer don't match the desires of the people who live near them.
That's why Gonzalez urges residents to attend public input sessions when city leaders are crafting new budgets, to let them know the needs different neighborhoods have in regards to parks.
“Our plan is to make every single park have the amenities for that specific neighborhood," he said. "So we take recommendations. We take what the citizens bring to our attention."
The city won't replace the O'Briens' basketball goal because, it turns out, it's not on city property.
The park where it sits was traded to Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi a year-and-a-half ago for another park.
But Gonzalez says a different Flour Bluff park could become home to those hoop dreams sometime in the future.
"We can certainly start looking at that," he said. "But basketball courts, creating basketball courts, they can be quite expensive. So maybe we’re looking at the next fiscal year."
Pryce would like to have a new basketball goal to play on sooner than that, which is why he's offering up his allowance money.
“I’m going to save up for a new one,” he said.