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Neighbors say neglected Port Arthur bird sanctuary is haven for - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

Neighbors say neglected Port Arthur bird sanctuary is haven for criminals

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PORT ARTHUR -

Chuck Moon lives right next to the Port Arthur Bird Sanctuary on Lake Arthur Drive, and says ever since the Houston Audubon Society in 2008 turned control of the park over to CIDA, the Community In-Power and Development Association, it's gone downhill.

"Very poor condition, (grass) probably hasn't been cut in about 5 years," Moon told 12News Wednesday. "When I came here you could walk through, there were no trees, there was hardly anything there, it was clean and pure."

Moon says the tall trees and overgrown shrubs provide cover for criminal activity, and people are taking advantage.

"People are doing drugs down there, they're out there at 2 or 3 in the morning. Now you'd be afraid to go back there, I think it's pretty dangerous."

Last month Port Arthur police were outside the sanctuary in force, searching for a convenience store robber after they say he ran into the park to hide.

CIDA CEO and environmental activist Hilton Kelley is aware of the concerns, and is doing something about it.

"We have no intention of leaving this place in this condition, so we are stepping up, we're going to do better policing in the area," Kelley said.

Wednesday morning Kelley showed a lawn care provider around the park, and discussed trimming back the bushes along the boardwalk and cutting the grass out front, but Moon doesn't think it will be enough.

"All we're asking for is to cut the grass, just cut it so I can look out there and see what's going on," Moon said.

Kelley says it has been difficult finding lawn care workers who will commit to fixing up the sanctuary on a monthly basis, since it covers such a large area.

Kelley says he also plans to post signs at sanctuary saying you cannot enter after a certain time of night.

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