By ABBEY KUNKLE
Special to the PRESS
The SPI Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee met last week for their regular monthly meeting and continued discussion regarding their budget, current projects and upcoming holiday events. Park maintenance concerns were also considered.
First up for discussion was the budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. Line items approved in the committee’s budget included $5,000 for Christmas events, $3,000 for the Fourth of July Beach Parade, and $6,500 for existing parks enhancements, which was over the original requested amount of $5,500. This year, the committee plans to focus on putting on a select few events and doing them very well.
The committee had requested an additional $1,500 to the Christmas budget but agreed that they could work within the $5,000. Scheduled holiday events include the Christmas Parade on Friday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m., Breakfast with Santa at Schlitterbahn Beach Resort the following Saturday, and the parade awards ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m., where prizes will be awarded and contest winners will perform acts from the parade.
The committee is also planning a Holiday Lighting Contest which has not been done for several years. Categories will likely accommodate homes, townhomes, condos, hotels and local businesses. Committee members are seeking prize donations from local businesses for contest winners. Committee Member Will Greenwood, who is heading up the event, recognized Port Isabel for their lighting in recent years and plans to encourage the SPI City Council to do more to light the Island. Registration will not be required to win.
Next up, City staff and Councilman Sam Listi gave an update on the progress of Tompkins Park and the Community Center. Listi was pleased to share that American Electric Power Co. (AEP) donated $3,000 towards the new park. The committee decided to use the funds toward the purchase of park benches with recognition for the donation.
Republic Services also donated $1,000 toward the park. In addition, committee members are exploring possibilities for a splash pad and skate park in phase two of park project. The Community Center is also coming along, and Councilman Listi hoped it would be completed by January.
In regards to the existing city parks, the committee has had concerns about which departmental budget should hold the responsibility for maintenance. Through the process of discussion over the past couple of months, it was determined that the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee was not responsible for maintenance of the park, but rather enhancements and ideas regarding the parks. Many are in need of repair and the committee has made it a priority to make sure maintenance issues are addressed. Committee member Eleana Jones said that she was under the impression that Mayor Barry Patel agreed to take care of all the improvements listed on their recent report, and they plan to approach the City Council with funding requests if needed.
For the month of October, the committee selected Kranzler as Yard of the Month. The next meeting for the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Committee is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 9 a.m.
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