City Park grant use discussed, hibiscus recommended as official flower

Special to the PRESS

The Parks, Recreation, and Beautification Committee met last week for their regular monthly meeting to discuss a variety of topics including plans for the City Park and Community Center, nominees for the Yard of the Month program, and discussion to adopt an official tree and flower for the City of South Padre Island.

During Public Comments, committee members expressed concern about the recent grant that was acquired through the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and their role and involvement with plans for development of the future city park.  They hoped to have a shovel-ready project by February but have been delayed by permits and requirements from the department. Moreover, they were concerned that they would not be able to adjust and improve upon plans for the park because a grant of $400,000 has already been received on plans previously submitted to TPWD. Chairman Jody Hughes believed the committee would be able to make very minor revisions to the plan.

Committee member Carol Bolstad moved on to give an update on the SPI Community Center construction project, showing plans for the layout of the building which will accommodate the city library, arts and craft areas, storage, along with a kitchen and large multi-purpose room. Bolstad proposed a timeline with construction beginning in April and ending by the middle of July. However, with expenses of mold remediation, flood requirements, and bringing the building to the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the committee plans to consider the feasibility and associated costs of making the repairs compared with starting from scratch. Previously, $50,000 was spent on roof improvements and the remainder of the project has a budget of approximately $200,000. Commemorative bricks may be sold to aid in fundraising for the Community Center, and the committee plans to further explore other fundraising options.

In regards to beautification, the Committee recognized Kelly and Rocky Romano March’s “Yard of the Month” for a residential yard at 5901 Gulf Blvd. The committee also discussed designating an official flower and tree for the City of SPI to encourage planting and to be used in marketing purposes to promote the Island’s semi-tropical setting. Members discussed varieties of palm trees to be designated as the official tree, but decided to do more research and to seek an expert opinion. However, the hibiscus flower was chosen to be recognized as the City’s official flower; the recommendation will be made to City Council for approval.

Up next for the committee is the annual Fourth of July Beach Parade. Vice Chair Debbie Huffman will be acting as chair of the parade which will be held the morning of the Fourth beginning at Beach Access 22- Fantasy Circle and ending at Beach Access 17. The committee plans to have music to start the event with refreshments at the finish line.

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