Generations of Waco residents have built lasting memories in the park, and officials at Ford and Lions Park have said no one wants to see it shut down.
The park, which normally opens around spring break, was hoping to bounce back from last year’s pandemic shutdown with a good run this year. However, Sirkel said maintenance issues, the city’s unfavorable inspection report and difficulties finding a willing workforce for the park have forced it to keep the doors closed this year, at the exception of two partial weekends earlier this year.
Even when the park was open, the condition of the grounds, with overgrown grass and fallen, uncut trees, left many feeling like it was closed, said Sirkel, who took over operation of the park when her husband, longtime executive director CC Sirkel, passed away in 2017.
Sirkel said insurance on the park, including liability coverage, costs around $ 34,000 per year. She said all of the issues the city had with the coverage have now been resolved and that she has not been contacted by anyone in the city since a field inspection on June 8.
In an April 15 letter to the Waco Lions Park board of directors, Ford let them know that the city would end its ground lease contract if the insurance and maintenance issues were not resolved.
“In addition, the tenant failed to keep the property ‘in good working order and in good appearance at all times” and “to keep the improvements in first-class condition,” “says the letter. “Any maintenance or improvement must be done in a ‘good and professional’ manner. “