Shelby Park Usage Discussed at City Council Meeting

By Beth Foley

Staff Writer


     Concerns over the City of Edna’s stricter policies governing access to Shelby Park dominated the City Council meeting Thursday night.

     Local resident Mickael Jordan spoke with council members, Mayor Lance Smiga, and City Manager Gary Broz for nearly 45 minutes early in the meeting, voicing his concerns about locked gates to the baseball and softball fields as the start of Little League games rapidly approaches. 

     City staff had placed Jordan on the posted agenda to allow the council the chance to discuss the matter with him in the meeting rather than just listen silently as rules state during public comments. Jordan had previously addressed the council during the public comments portion at a February meeting.

     Jordan contended that the city’s new rules limiting access to the baseball and softball fields are unfair to city residents who want to practice on the fields, and that Shelby Park’s playing fields should be unlocked daily from dusk to dawn, especially on weekends. He also said that his research into the history of the nearly 72-year-old park had uncovered copies of the deed that indicated that the public should not be kept from using the property.

     However, councilmembers reminded Jordan that they had restricted access not as a punishment for the public but as stewards of public property, due to increasing problems with trash, damage, and higher electricity bills when field lights were left on for hours after games had ended.

     District 2 Councilman Wayne Callis questioned the need for access to the Little League fields outside of actual games, noting that historically teams have practiced in open lots around the city and not on the official fields. Police Chief Rick Boone, who also coaches a Little League team, confirmed that practices are not allowed on the Shelby Park fields but noted that while it was easy to spot teams practicing around town, new homes and businesses had taken some of the land that had been available.

     After much discussion, the mayor and council decided to table the matter until the next meeting on March 21 to allow time to have City Attorney Jake Srp examine the deed and offer any legal guidance, if necessary, and officials to come up with possible compromises on the current regulations.  

     Also, the council agreed to assist First Baptist Church with broken and crumbling pavement on Brackenridge Street where street parking alongside the church is located. 

     In other business, the council:

     Approved the minutes of the meeting held Feb. 15;

     Heard public comment;

     Approved Resolution No. 2024-04 authorizing the submission of a Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) to the Texas General Land Office (GLO);

     Approved the city’s Citizen Participation Plan for the Texas GLO CDBG-DR;

     Approved Resolution No. 2024-05 for the Operation Lone Star Grant Program #4628003 for the year 2025;

     Approved the purchase of a used Durapatcher and truck for the Street Department, with the money to come from the Street Department;

     Agreed to pay the current bills; and 

     Heard reports from city staff.

Jackson County Herald Tribune

306 N. Wells
Edna, TX 77957