100 Black Men of West Texas cancels fishing derby event due to c - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

100 Black Men of West Texas cancels fishing derby event due to condition of park

Dwight McDonald, board member for 100 Black Men of West Texas Dwight McDonald, board member for 100 Black Men of West Texas
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

An annual kids fishing derby in Lubbock has been canceled.

This is an event that has been organized for the past 20 years by a group called - the 100 Black Men of West Texas.

But not this year.

Organizers tell us they canceled this year's event at Mae Simmons Park due to the condition of the park.

"Normally we have our fishing derby on the first Saturday of June,” Dwight McDonald, board member for 100 Black Men of West Texas, says. “It's an opportunity number one, to give back to our- to the citizens of Lubbock."

He tells us they first postponed the fishing derby, then, they decided to cancel it.

Back in February, a City of Lubbock employee lost his life when the pedestrian bridge over the lake at Mae Simmons Park collapsed, as he tried to drive over it.

"We knew there had been an accident that occurred on the bridge," McDonald says.

And, since then, the spot where the bridge once stood is fenced off.

"I inquired when the bridge- if it would be up by August 1st and he explained to me that it would not be up on August 1st, but that the city would put cones up on Martin Luther King Drive, and block off one lane of traffic, so that you could go from one side of the lake to the other," he explains.

As nearly 1,500 kids gather at the park for a fun day of fishing, McDonald says, the organization did not want to chance the safety and security of the kids.

"We just felt that it was too dangerous, for our young people to be walking in the street," he says.

But, it wasn't just the bridge.

McDonald says he took a some photos a few weeks ago showing the overgrown cattails.

"The cattails had not been cleared from the lake," he says.

On Tuesday, the City of Lubbock’s Park and Recreation Department was out working to clear the lake.

The City of Lubbock released a statement to us saying, “The replacement of that bridge must be engineered, manufactured and installed properly to assure the safety of the patrons using Mae Simmons Park.”

And, they say, the bridge is being manufactured, at this time, and will be installed once it's delivered.

"It has been kind of a disappointment, because it's something that folks look forward to every year," McDonald says.

But, they're just hoping to come back next year.

"Our intent is to come back next year, bigger and better," he says.

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