Dumas, TX -- Dumas city officials are taking the phrase "Don't Mess with Texas" to heart - and they're hoping their citizens will follow suit.
Soccer games at Utley Park have left the park trashed - literally - and that trash then blows into the surrounding neighborhoods right into people's front yards. And one recent game in particular left such a mess behind that it took a crew of city workers an entire day to clean it up. City Commissioner Mike Funk says he received numerous complaints from residents on the adjoining properties and went to see it for himself.
"Sunday morning, I got up and came down here, and I bet you there was forty dirty diapers on the ground, I bet you there was 75 twelve-packs of beer on the ground, trash everywhere, water bottles, an old cooler, tennis shoes laying around - I mean, it looked like a bomb went off out here," said Funk.
So in a recent meeting, city commissioners put in place a new policy for soccer games at Utley Park: either put down a $1,000 deposit, or pay two off-duty police officers a rate of $25 an hour to monitor games.
It's meant as a stopgap measure to get residents to maintain the park long enough for the city to improve it.
"I see the policy changing down the road; it's a possibility," said Funk, "But what we're after is to get the local leagues to start taking ownership of the field, and when they start keeping it really nice and looking good, the city could possibly build concession stands, bathrooms, and go ahead and start developing it the way it needs to be developed."
Leagues will also have to get a $10 permit from the city to hold games in the park.