By HEATHER CATHLEEN COX
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.”