Group seeks citizen support for its opposition to outside development of Lake Crook

Friends of Lake Crook

About 25 people attended Tuesday’s organizational meeting at the City of Paris Library for “Friends of Lake Crook,” which is aimed at preserving Paris’ Lake Crook as a quiet lake. On Jake Street’s motion, the group named Dr. Richard Swint as honorary chairman and Susan Swint and Jackie Alsobrook as “working co-chairmen.”

“We don’t want this to be a group that never got started, so we want  to start by brainstorming tonight,” Susan Swint said in the opening moments of the meeting, which began at 5:30 p.m. She encouraged participants to volunteer to help with one of various things the group would like Lake Crook to feature — a children’s park, petting zoo, paddle boats and kayaks, camping and RV areas, trails, or picnic tables/barbecue grills.

Alsobrook said she was among a group that has attended several Paris City Council meetings to protest plans to make Lake Crook the object of aggressive economic development.

She said she was disappointed that not one city council member asked a question of Dr. Swint recently when he expressed the desire to keep Lake Crook a quiet city-owned park free of outside development.

Alsobrook also expressed disappointment that the council had not responded to the group’s request that before the council involve outside investors in the development of Lake Crook that the proposal be put to a vote of the people.

She said the group is prepared to initiate a petition drive to require the council to win public support in an election of any attempt to bring outside developers in.

“Just because they’re on the city council doesn’t make them knowledgeable about anything,” Dr. Swint said. At a talk he made to a Paris civic club, he asked for comments, he said, “and 90 percent wrote they want to keep this lake that a few people think they can make money on.”

Two candidates were among the group and were introduced — Joe McCarthy, who is running for the District 1 seat on the Paris City Council — and Jim Bell, who is running for the District 7 seat on the Paris Junior College board of regents.

The next meeting of the “Friends of Lake Crook” was set for 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 13, at picnic tables under a pavilion at Lake Crook Park.

By Charles Richards, eParisExtra

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Charles Richards Charles Richards moved to Paris in 2004 after retiring from a 40-year career in journalism – the last 26 years as a news writer and sports writer with The Associated Press in Dallas and Washington, D.C. In mid-2004, The Paris News coaxed him out of retirement, and he began covering the police, court and regional beat for The Paris News. Then in early 2005, he was switched to coverage of a sharply divided Paris City Council. He was appointed by the City Council in 2006 to the 12-member City Charter Review Commission, which extensively rewrote the outmoded document. His writing awards include two first-place awards in statewide competition for feature writing. The most recent was his 2005 story on a Paris doctor’s startling use of leeches in a successful attempt to re-attach a man’s severed ear. Over his career, Richards’ interview subjects include Alabama Gov. George Wallace, President Bill Clinton, President George W. Bush, David Koresh, Arnold Palmer, Muhammad Ali and numerous other political and sports figures. He is an alumnus of Texas Tech, where he was editor of the school newspaper. He lives in Paris with his wife, Barbara, who is retired after 30 years as a teacher and high school counselor.