AUSTIN, Texas - Joanne Romanovich moved to South Austin from the Houston area to escape Hurricane Harvey, and she has stayed ever since. She now hesitates to go to a park she used to frequent.
"It’s gotten worse," she said.
Mary Moore Searight Park sits off South 1st Street near Slaughter Lane. Neighbors said, the trash has gotten out of hand.
"This probably happened not over a month’s span, this is probably by one individual within 24 hours," said Romanovich.
Romanovich said the problems are spilling into her neighborhood.
"Do I feel empathy for these people who are left on the streets who have nowhere to go? Yes. Would I mind it if we could live together happily, and they were just tenting but not creating this type of stuff? Absolutely, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. Where I have a problem with it is when my now five, six-year old son in August, is two, and he is trying to run in our backyard, and he almost steps on a heroin needle," said Romanovich.
Another neighbor, who did not want to share his name, said he has been in this area for 10 years, and noticed the drastic difference in the amount of trash he sees in the park and nearby.
"I’ve even found oil, chemicals, glass, it’s possible even an accidental fire can start from what’s here," he said.
"Who would want to come here and let their children play here? This is where our community comes to walk, exercise and walk their dog," he said.
We reached out to city council member Ann Kitchen, who oversees this district but did not get a response.
"We are the ones paying $9,000 and up in this area annually, and we are the ones having to clean this up," said Romanovich.
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