Southside Park completion behind schedule

New Park?
Pictured is Southside Park in its current state. The park was scheduled to be completed by the end of summer. (Photo by David Lopez)

Special to the NEWS

It was meant to be one of San Benito’s most versatile attractions.

However, it appears the new park has reached a halt.

Being built south of Expressway I-69 and next to Fire Station No. 1 on Sam Houston, the long-awaited Southside Park, also referred to as South Park, was scheduled to be completed earlier this summer, at the latest this fall. Unfortunately, as of now, there lies only cleared land and some assorted light poles.

At a regular city meeting last Tuesday, commissioners discussed plans to change the park’s name, possibly by allowing San Benito students to submit name proposals. However, completion of the park was not discussed.

At the groundbreaking of Southside Park that occurred on Jan. 31 this year, in addition to providing a completion date, former Parks and Recreation director Art Garza III (Garza left the position mid-September) announced the park would have soccer fields with LED lighting, a playground, exercise equipment, a concession stand, restrooms, a picnic area, a walking trail, and a splash pad for the children, all spanning an area of 12.5 acres.

At that time, Garza said $80,000 in infrastructure for installation of water and sewage lines had been completed for 6.5 acres of land.

With $494,755 from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, $314,780 from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), coupled with Community Development Block Grant funds and revenue from the City’s general fund, the park’s price tag is an approximate $1,113,000.

Though behind schedule, the park, Garza added, was to be beneficial to the community and residents that have culminated south of I-69 over the years. “A new park is extremely beneficial: we’re here to try to help and improve not only the quality of life of citizens through physical activity but also the cultural and social aspects. Kids can come out here and play and socialize,” he said at the groundbreaking.

Editor’s note: This article has been edited for length. To read the full story, click here or make sure to grab a copy of the Nov. 22-28, 2019 issue of the NEWS.

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