City stands by sports park design, but will examine safety

As a devastated family begins planning a funeral for 6-year-old Juan Rodriguez Jr., following his drowning at a Brownsville Sports Park pond Sunday.His 2-year-old sister, Ashley Rodriguez, clings to life at a McAllen hospital.Meanwhile, Brownsville city leaders are already evaluating what safety measures can be upgraded at the Brownsville Sports Park."We obviously need to evaluate the situation and assure that we take steps to address what occurred - which is a tragedy - because we don TMt want things like this occurring at our parks," City Manager Charlie Cabler said.The pond where the boy drowned, Cabler said, is one of two ponds located at the sports park.At its shallowest, it's two feet deep and 8 feet deep at it's deepest.Cabler said the idea was to offer fishing, kayaking and other activities there.Action 4 News asked about the proximity of the playground to the pond, and why it had been designed that way."We need to understand that the sports park was designed by engineers that relate to parks and parks safety," Cabler said.The city manager adds that the park's design was approved by several committees and city commissioners before it was built.He said the proximity of the pond to the playground raises safety concerns following the drowning, but Cabler adds that had the city built it further away, some may have raised concerns about not being able to watch their children because of the distance."We have a lot of parks throughout the city - historical parks - such as Dean Porter Park that have resacas, Cabler said. We have to make sure that families understand it's a must that they take care of the children especially of infant (age)."Cabler said Rodriguez TMs drowning is the first at a city park that he can recall since taking office more than five years ago.