County raises user fee, approves Access 5 improvements


Port Isabel-South Padre Press

The Cameron County Commissioners Court approved a $5 increase to the beach user fee for County beach accesses this week. The County plans to use the increased fees to help fund facility improvements, including a massive overhaul of E.K. Atwood Park located at County Beach Access #5.

The fee increase — which will also affect 30-day, annual and bus pass fees — won’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016, according to a statement released by County Administrator David Garcia.

The price hike comes as part of the Commission’s approval of the Coastal Parks Master Plan, which will ultimately account for some $20 million in improvements and upgrades to Isla Blanca Park, Andy Bowie Park and E.K. Atwood Park. Some of the changes will take up to five years to be made, according to the statement.

Chief among the improvements is a complete reimagining of the facilities at Beach Access #5. The pavilion was closed this year after structural problems made it unsafe for use. Over the summer, the County obtained the services of Green, Rubiano & Associates, structural engineers, to examine the problem and propose solutions. They determined that it would be prohibitive to try to fix the current pavilion and instead began looking into creating an entirely new facility. They presented their proposal to the Commission last month.

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