Ron Rigsby Park: Its Past and its Future
1 June 2009 - 12:38, by , in Forums, No comments

An open letter from Cecil H. Rigsby

When our son, Ensign Ronald Cecil Rigsby, was killed in a Navy aircraft accident on April 1st, 1977, at age 26, I was working for the Northrop Corporation and living in Saudi Arabia with my family. We had leased our house at 9001 Collinfield Dr. and of course we returned to the States for Ron’s funeral. He was buried with full military honors at Austin Memorial Park. It was some months later when we returned to Austin on leave, driving through the neighborhood we noticed the sign, Ron Rigsby Park. We had no notice what-so-ever of this Honor bestowed on our son. It is indeed an Honor and the family appreciates the efforts of the North Austin Civic Association (NACA) who made it possible.

On my return from a combat tour in Vietnam in May, 1971, I was assigned to 12th Air Force Headquarters, Bergstrom Air Force Base. We found a house we liked in Quail Creek and moved in May 1971. It was not long before a number of us in Quail Creek formed the North Austin Civic Association to battle the construction of apartment complexes in our area. We lost our original fight because the apartments had already been approved by the City Planning Commission. But it was the beginning of many battles to follow.

I was one of the founding members of NACA and served on the Board for several years. Ron Rigsby lived at home, graduated from University of Houston in June 1972 with a BA Degree, and took a job in State Government. At the request of the Board Ron attended City Council Meetings, City Planning Commission Meetings, passed out Newsletters and worked the elections. He was as interested in the Neighborhood as the leaders of our Association. He volunteered his time like the rest of us who battled to keep undesirable commercial ventures out of our Neighborhood.

The Rigsby family is impressed and grateful to present NACA Members who have expressed a desire to improve the appearance, utility and desirability of Ron Rigsby Park. Some have sought our views on what if anything should be done. After a family conference, here are a few thoughts for your consideration….


The Rigsby family is impressed and grateful to present NACA Members who have expressed a desire to improve the appearance, utility and desirability of Ron Rigsby Park. Some have sought our views on what if anything should be done. After a family conference, here are a few thoughts for your consideration:

1. It has been more than 30-years since Ron’s tragic death and only a few neighbors remember him. I’m sure many visitors to the Park wonder, who is Ron Rigsby? We suggest that a Plaque be permanently placed in the Park with this suggested inscription:

Ron Rigsby, Ensign United States Navy, at age 26, gave his life for his country on April 1, 1977. Ron lived in this neighborhood, worked for NACA, worked the elections and worked for the betterment of this area.
May he never be forgotten.

This may be a little long and it probably could be improved but this is our suggestion. It would be nice if the City would approve and finance the Plaque. If the City has no money for these things the Rigsby family would be willing to pay the cost.

2. The small size of the Park does not lend itself to structures of any kind, so we suggest that the space be preserved primarily for sitting, walking, children running with a restriction on no dogs. There is no one to pick up dog do so we would favor a restriction on dogs.

3. When the Park was first opened we had NACA events there where people brought in portable barbeque grills, picnic tables, chairs, games, etc. When the event was over everything was removed and put in order. We don’t believe that anyone would object to this kind of use.

4. We would suggest at least two permanent picnic tables with permanent benches for everyone’s use. High School students use the Park frequently during the school term as a meeting place.

5. If it is feasible a water fountain would be nice and of course permanent trash receptacles.

6. As far as the Garden Club is concerned some beautification is possible without using too much of the limited space. We would suggest along the edges of the Park leaving the middle area free for personal use.

7. All should be aware of the possibility of vandalism in the Park. The Sign that is there now is at least the third one due to destructive people. Maybe that is not so bad considering the number of years the Park has been in existence but vandalism should be a consideration on new improvements.

8. It would be nice if a group of Lanier High School students or some other group would adopt the Park for keeping it clean and do some of the things the City Park Maintenance does not.

This paper represents some of the suggestions of the Rigsby Family who are very appreciative of NACA intentions to improve the appearance and utility of Ron Rigsby Park. We thank you.

Cecil H. Rigsby
Colonel, USAF (Ret)
9001 Collinfield Dr.
Austin, Texas 78758

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