South park OK’d; splash pad axed

Staff Writer

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At a special joint meeting of the City Commission and the San Benito Parks and Recreation Board on Tuesday, July 8 at the San Benito Municipal Building, San Benito officials voted in favor of investing city funds to establish a park on the south side of San Benito.

Through the years, “many citizens have requested that the City build a park on the south part of town,” said City Manager Manuel Lara. “The Parks board has been meeting on a regular basis. They have been diligent and creative, and I think they have a beautiful vision of what they would like to see (happen) in San Benito.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Parks and Recreation Board shared ideas and information with city officials, regarding the erection of a new park for San Benito. Regarding a recent presentation to the City, Parks and Recreation Board Chair Zeke Luna said, “The Board is recommending to a design with two soccer fields, a playground, basketball courts, a walking area, a pavilion, tables and restrooms.”

Additions such as baseball or soccer fields were not included among the Board’s recommendations. “The problem with putting fields up,” said Luna, has to do “with lighting.” Luna added, “The lighting is going to be cost prohibitive. It will cost $90,000-$100,000 per field, just for lighting.”

For similar reasons, the Board did not recommend that the City include a public swimming pool or splash pad in its initial plan. “A splash park or pool would require major funding. At this time, no splash pad or pool is being considered,” said Luna.

Luna further stated, “The amount of funds available will dictate what will go into the park.”

Regarding funding, neither Lara nor Luna wished to comment. Although the Board presented initial cost estimates to the City, Luna said, “The cost estimates are preliminary in nature and are not set in stone. The type of park, what will be in it, the cost [are] still up in the air. Availability of funds cannot be determined until the end of July.”

“(The establishment of a park in South San Benito) is something that’s been on the drawing board for many years. The Parks and Recreation Board thought it was time to move forward with plans,” said Luna. “Now, it’s up to the City to determine cost, budget and to look for an architect or engineer and proceed forward.”

Presently, the City of San Benito owns approximately 10 acres of land, located behind the fire station on South Sam Houston. This land will be home to its new park. Luna mentioned, “There is space available for future developments.”


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    • You Silly People on July 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm
    • Reply

    tgonzales at cityofsanbenito dot com

    rvillafranco at cityofsanbenito dot com

    jdpenney at cityofsanbenito dot com

    jdgonzalez at cityofsanbenito dot com

    • You Silly People on July 14, 2014 at 12:46 pm
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    You silly people, haven’t you realized that the only streets being worked on are being picked by the city commissioners. I am told by a source who attended a commission meeting for the first time that just last month a city commissioner wanted to add a specific street to the list because it had many pot holes, as if other streets don’t. Magically this street will probably be up next. If you want your street fixed next call or email your city commissioner but don’t tell them you did not vote for them, they frown upon that. (footnote: I am told one commissioner does not use email, only snail-mail; you can guess which one)

    According to the City of San Benito web page, following are the commissioner email id’s

      • WeThePeople on July 14, 2014 at 1:36 pm
      • Reply

      I believe the proper term is compadrismo. I agree with you; elected officials should not ever be able to direct funding to single out specific streets for repair. There should be a streets plan done on an annual basis that gets approved by a citizen committee and at least 2 public hearings. There should NEVER be city officials or city workers calling the shots. The method currently in use leads to corruption and misuse of public funds.
      The streets are a mess because the citizens of this community have let it go on and on this way.


      “All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”
      ― Noam Chomsky


      “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.” ― Abraham Lincoln


    • TwoCentsWorth on July 14, 2014 at 10:07 am
    • Reply

    Let’s get something straight!! Which comes first–the streets or improving our city parks. The answer is not simple. However, there must be a fair and equitable balance in meeting the needs of a community. Yes, our streets are in need of repair, as are streets in every community. Years of neglect have finally caught up with us, and the burden falls on the current and recent city administrators. Nevertheless, we cannot arbitrarily agree that improving our parks to meet the social and health needs of our community should come to a standstill until all our streets are fixed. Some of the funds that will be used for the construction of the new park are earmarked solely for park improvements . . . they cannot be used for any other purpose. If our community does not use them for the designated purpose, the funds go to another community for improving its respective parks. So, let’s join together and advocate for both our streets and parks.

      • WeThePeople on July 14, 2014 at 11:53 am
      • Reply

      While we are getting something straight, let’s tell it LIKE IT WAS…the so-called splash park was the idea of one person, not the community…period. The CDBG squirreled away monies for several years at the direction of this person and even got EDC monies set aside for some of it!
      For the record, the meeting on on Tuesday, July 8 was the first time the City Commission officially approved any park of any kind.

      HUD rules state that CDBG grantees: must give maximum feasible priority to activities which benefit low- and moderate-income persons. A grantee may also carry out activities which aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight. Additionally, grantees may fund activities when the grantee certifies that the activities meet other community development needs having a particular urgency because existing conditions pose a serious and immediate threat to the health or welfare of the community where other financial resources are not available to meet such needs.
      Also, the Consolidated Plan must include several required certifications, including that not less than 70% of the CDBG funds received, over a one, two or three year period specified by the grantee, will be used for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons, and that the grantee will affirmatively further fair housing.

        • TwoCentsWorth on July 14, 2014 at 6:32 pm
        • Reply

        Thank you for the additional info . . very helpful in getting the word out to the community on the activities of our city boards.

    • ex-student on July 12, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    • Reply

    Lets fix the streets..a park is a good idea but we have pot hole tire/rim damaging streets in all our neighborhoods. I always see big signs on streets being fixed that say your tax dollars being used for this street, but the thing I don’t understand is why are they fixing the streets that really don’t need repair or don’t have pot holes. I know they fixed streets that needed repair badly like chapman, then there are some streets like robertson that didn’t need repair but they fixed it anyways. What a waste, but I think the former mayor had someyhing to do with that because his business is on that street. I say that because south of robertson has not been fixed, they just patched it up like they do all the other streets. The company that did the patching also fixed the sewer drains that still get clogged when a little rain comes.. San Benito will always be pot hole city if we keep this compadre system and hire fools to fix our problems

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