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Park Officials Up Security at Makeshift Gate

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SOUTH PADRE ISLAND – Residents at Isla Blanca Park are concerned for their safety.

They told CHANNEL 5 NEWS that since the entrance gate was destroyed a month ago, no one has been guarding who goes into the park overnight.

Robert Gardner just bought himself a new fire pit. He says he was forced to because someone stole the one he already had from his porch at his RV spot at Isla Blanca Park.

"(I had) a propane fire pit stolen the night before last and a turkey fryer," Gardner said. "You know, we've been coming here 10 years and have left everything out with no issues."

He blames it on a recent unexpected change the entrance gate to the park. A driver plowed into it back in December, completely destroying it.

Since there's been a makeshift gate with a toll attendant at a small booth, the problem, Gardner said, is that there's no one to watch who goes in and out of the park overnight.

"There's women out here roaming around at night walking their dogs," Gardner said. "When anyone can come in with no accountability, it's not a good situation."

Jane Longan said she's used to walking her dog at night before going to bed. She's afraid to do that now. She said the county needs to do a better job of protecting RV goers.

"We can't keep people from coming in individually, but they're bringing vehicles and they are going by here real slowly," Longan said. "We've had reports several times of cars just checking out what's here."

These residents said they took their concerns to park officials. Longan said they were told they'd try to have added security at the gate by Spring Break. These RV goers want protection now.

"We're still paying the same thing. We expect the same services," Longan said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS stepped-in to find out what Cameron County Park officials are doing about these concerns.

Parks Director Joe Vega couldn't meet with us but came up with a plan of action in a matter of hours.

Cameron County Parks Chief Ranger Horacio Zamora confirms an officer will be placed at the Isla Blanca Park entrance overnight once the toll attendant leaves for the day.

It's the added security residents at the park are asking for.

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