Contrary to what a local news broadcast implied in a recent report, Claiborne West Park is open and ready to be enjoyed.

On June 2, Parks and Recreation’s Donna Scales told county commissioners that a bridge near the front of the park is repaired. The bridge, damaged by Hurricane Rita took so long to repair, not because of money but because contractors were hard to find for small jobs after the storm.

A recent news story on KFDM-TV said the 30-year-old park would be closed “indefinitely” because of hurricane debris and lack of resources.

According to Scales, a closed section of the park pertains to the undeveloped east area most people have never seen and may not even know exists.

Years before Rita blew through, the land on the other side of the bridge flooded frequently and when it wasn’t flooded, a large part of it is a bog that you would have to wear rubber boots to explore.
Some of the trails may be affected by the debris, but other trails are open, along with what most people consider ‘the park.’

On Saturday, there were several family reunions and graduation celebrations in the many pavilions. There are three playgrounds, two baseball fields, tennis / basketball court and a Frisbee golf area.

A Vidor woman who asked that her first name only (Katherine) be used, was with her grandchildren from Houston. “I thought it was still needing repairs,” she said. “It doesn’t look like there was any damage.” She added that traffic construction almost kept her from visiting the park.

“I thought it was going to be awful,” said Tracy Morgan, who saw the television broadcast.

“There’s nothing wrong here,” said her mother-in-law Robyn Bertrand.

Saturday also saw a crawfish boil in honor of Vidor graduate Carl “C.J.” Woodall Jr. “He had perfect attendence for 13 years; never missed a day,” said Gloria Gracia.

“It’s wonderful. It’s really nice today,” she said as a cool breeze blew through. There was no damage in the park and everybody had a great time, she said.

“People really use this park,” said Scales. She described the park as “ … open, available and a great place to enjoy without spending a fortune on gas to get there.”

KFDM had not returned a call by press time.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.