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FAIRVIEW (CBS 11) — The fight to save a beloved Collin County park is intensifying as a group of parents and their children try to stop a hotel from being built on top of the site.

For the last five years Robin Dillard says her son and his friends have cherished this park known as “The Beach.” The private property controlled by The Village At Fairview recently posted signs announcing the park would close to make way for a hotel. That led to an online petition calling for a stop to the development.

“It’s a good, safe environment. They get exercise. They get away from the computers and the technology,” Dillard said.

Dillard had just started to tell CBS 11 why the park means so much to her when security guards asked us to stop shooting interviews on the property.

Fairview Police directed us to a spot just off the property where we could continue talking to Dillard.

“I think it’s horrible. They’re trying to stop us from our First Amendment rights letting the public know what’s going on. Freedom of speech, that’s our most basic right, and they’re telling us we can’t be interviewed on their property, and I’m like shocked,” Dillard said.

A spokesperson for The Village At Fairview said the plans to build a hotel have been in the works for years and that the park was always meant to be temporary. A written statement read in part, “While we understand that some of our guests will miss The Beach, the land has always been slated for development.”

Some of the protesters have reached out to city leaders for advice, but a spokesperson for the Economic Development Corporation told CBS 11 since the city does not own the property there’s little that local government can do.

“I just don’t understand why… How they can just take something away from the community. I mean this is what makes Fairview Fairview,” Dillard said.

Some of the protesters suggested a compromise of building a new set of volleyball courts somewhere close by. A spokesperson for The Village At Fairview says there’s no plan for that now, but it is something they would consider.

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