Dove Springs Recreation Center could be renamed after Constable George Morales

The Dove Springs Recreation Center could be named after current Travis County Constable George Morales III. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Dove Springs Recreation Center could be named after current Travis County Constable George Morales III. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Dove Springs Recreation Center could be named after current Travis County Constable George Morales III. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
George Morales III serves as Travis County Precinct 4 constable.
The Dove Springs Recreation Center, located at 5801 Ainez Drive, Austin, could be renamed after current Travis County Precinct 4 Constable George Morales III.

Morales—who said he was raised in Dove Springs and has been connected in the community for 45 years—has served as constable since 2016 and in 2018 received a Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Achievement Award for Public Service. Morales has also served as president of the Dove Springs Advisory Board for 10 years.

Dove Springs Advisory Board member Robert Kibbie submitted an application with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department board in October to rename the center the George Morales Dove Spring Recreation Center. Included in the application were letters of support from state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, and Austin ISD trustee Arati Singh.

“I have had the privilege of working alongside George for many years,” Rodriguez said in the letter. “He is a stalwart champion for the people of Dove Springs and I am honored to consider him a dear friend.”

The Austin Parks and Recreation board unanimously approved support of the change at a meeting Oct. 22, and the name change could be brought to Austin City Council for action in December.


“It’s an honor, to be honest with you,” Morales told Community Impact Newspaper about being considered. “It’s exciting.”

Kibbie, who also grew up in Dove Springs, said he was motivated to honor Morales for being the first elected Travis County constable from the Dove Springs area and for various volunteer efforts he has spearheaded in Dove Springs.

"We were always told we'd grow up to be in gangs, into drugs or dead," Kibbie told Community Impact Newspaper. "He's showing kids in the area they can be anything they want to be."

However, some former residents who served on the Dove Springs Advisory Board in the late '80s and early '90s to help create the neighborhood park—including Cristina Jesurun, Ofelia Zapata and Rosie Salinas—told Community Impact Newspaper they are against changing the facility’s name.

Jesurun said the Dove Springs neighborhood in the '80s did not have a park or field for local children to use, and the community did not have a unified identity. The Dove Springs Advisory Board was formed in part to advocate for the construction of a park, and according to Jesurun, the park was officially named in the '90s after a community initiative to allow local children to vote on a name.

The board decided to allow students to pick the name in an effort to “empower” the neighborhood children and allow them to take some ownership and connect with the then new park, Salinas said.

“That really empowered them that they were involved and not excluded from the process,” she said. “[The community] wasn’t unified until we all started getting involved with the park.”

Zapata said that the name change would undo hours of efforts former volunteers, community members and children who grew up in the 90s spent to establish the park and select a name for the facility.

“It’s nothing personal against [Morales]; I just don’t think the name should ever be changed,” she said. “What the board did [in the 90s] asking for the kids’ input was historic.”

Jesurun, Zapata and Salinas hosted a community meeting to discuss the name change Nov. 11 and have started a change.org petition opposing the name change, which has received over 50 signatures as of Nov. 14.

Similarly, a change.org petition to gather support for naming the park after Morales has received over 1,000 signatures in two weeks.

“Everybody has a right to their own opinion,” Morales said. “Everybody has a right to speak out.”

Olivia Aldridge - Nicholas Cicale



MOST RECENT

Tacodeli co-owners Roberto Espinosa and Eric Wilkerson opened their first location in 1999. The seventh location for the local chain in Austin will open this summer in Circle C. (Courtesy Tacodeli)
Tacodeli to open a Circle C location this summer

The new location will be the seventh in Austin for the locally based chain, which first opened in 1999.

The city of Austin's Smart Mobility Office has partnered with Ford on self-driving vehicle initiatives. (Courtesy Ford Motor Company)
Austin's transportation department paving the way for rise in autonomous vehicle traffic

Several private companies are working on autonomous vehicle initiatives in Austin in addition to the city's own smart infrastructure planning.

Goodfolks plans to open in late July to early August. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
New restaurant coming to Georgetown; new Hutto community to have nearly 1K lots and more top Central Texas news

Read the top business and community news from the past week from Central Texas.

COVID-19 precautions such as a masking requirement remain in place at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Courtesy Austin-Bergstrom International Airport)
'Signs of hope' on the horizon at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after year-plus dip in air travel

Rising passenger counts, new airline operations and an increase in vaccinations could all support the airport's recovery in 2021.

Capital Metro bus
Capital Metro announces increased transit services for Austin FC games this season

Capital Metro has increased the frequency of several bus routes for Austin FC game days at Q2 Stadium.

masks
CDC ends all mask requirements for fully vaccinated people

The guidance states fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.

Students at Norman-Sims Elementary School and Austin ISD's 124 other schools across the district will now be allowed to remove masks during outdoor physical activities with the permission of a parent or guardian. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin ISD makes outdoor masking optional, eases other health, safety restrictions

Students engaging in outdoor physical activity will now have the option to remove masks.

House Bill 1024, signed into law May 12, allows restaurants and bars to permanently sell alcoholic beverages to-go. (Courtesy Pexels)
Cocktails to-go are here to stay in Texas: Gov. Greg Abbott signs change into law May 12

Supporters say the change will help restaurants continue to recover from the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Austin's phased process for moving people experiencing homelessness out of unregulated encampments will roll out through the summer. (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
City officials detail homeless education and enforcement plan with Proposition B ordinances now in effect

The process that will eventually remove the city's homeless encampment begins this month with outreach and warnings and will stretch until late summer with full enforcement.