By Gaige Davila
Construction began on extending concrete medians along Padre Boulevard this month. The medians are one part of a project the city calls the “PR 100 Median, Boardwalk and Sidewalk Improvement Project.” The project is being planned and designed by Kimley-Horn And Associates, Inc., a nationwide engineering firm.
The $7.5 million project is expected to finish in 15 months—April 2021—according to a statement from the City of South Padre Island. The projects first phase, out of 11, starts on Dolphin Street, along Padre Boulevard, and ends on Retama Street, six blocks away.
The eleven phases of the project total 2.5 miles.
The project is funded through the Venue Tax Project, a fund sourced from a 2 percent tax incurred on the city’s Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT), which is 14.5 percent, totalling 16.5 percent. The tax is collected from hotel and short-term rental reservations in Cameron County. The project was voted for and approved on November 8, 2016 during the South Padre Island’s municipal election.
The medians will look similar to ones installed in 2007 from Dolphin Street to the 700 Block of Padre Blvd, according to the city.
Sidewalks along Padre Blvd will extend as well, from the Birding, Nature Center and Alligator Sanctuary, at 6801 Padre Blvd, to around a mile north towards the Shores residential development.
Two more boardwalks will be added at the wetlands near the South Padre Island Convention Centre, along with more crosswalks—at Hibiscus Street, Aries Drive, the Convention Center, the Shores, and the SPI Equestrian Center, which is north of the Convention Centre, and a traffic light between Clayton’s Beach Bar and Sea Turtle, Inc.
Construction on medians will pause during all of March, between April 3 and 12, weekends in June, all of July, weekends in August, and any city-recognized holiday.
The City of South Padre Island is hosting a groundbreaking ceremony at the South Padre Island Convention Centre on Wednesday, January 29, at 11:00 a.m.