The deterioration of a park he loved prompted Jay Johnson to get proactive.
Johnson adopted the Eugene McCray Park in east Fort Worth through the city’s Adopt-A-Park program in 2010, and on Saturday he is hosting his second annual park clean-up.
“We’re trying to get people in the community to get out and take ownership of the park,” he said.
Johnson, 19, grew up in the Stop Six neighborhood and is currently studying real estate at Tarrant Community College. He said the park has battled problems with drugs and prostitution, but that it’s a wonderful park worth fighting for and saving.
“We’ve made progress with it but we’re still fighting a bunch of crime elements,” he said. “I’ve been going to that park since when I was in Cub Scouts in third grade. Even back then it was obvious the park needed some assistance. I visit the park all the time.”
Lake Arlington borders the park.
“It’s one of the few parks in Fort Worth that is attached to a lake,” Johnson said. “I always thought it was a beautiful park that didn’t get the same set of resources as some of the other parks in Fort Worth.”
The park was named after former city council member and mayor pro-tem Eugene McCray shortly after he died in 1997.
The park clean-up is 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, and breakfast donated by Whataburger will be served at 8:30 a.m. The city of Fort Worth is providing trash bags, gloves, and trash removal.
“I hosted a clean-up last fall and was happy to see so many people turn out who cared about the park,” Johnson said. “I believe there will be an even larger crowd this year. I’m also excited that Mr. McCray’s widow, Mary, will be back again this year. I know this park means a lot to her.”