MLK Day project spawns Delta Lake Park upgrade effort

What started as an activity to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr. Day has become a multi-faceted project currently nearing the completion of its first phase: the renovation of the Delta Lake Park in Monte Alto.

Hidalgo County Precinct 1 Commissioner David Fuentes launched the Delta Lake Park Beautification Project – an initiative that invited students of local school districts to join him in painting the park located on North FM88, north of Charles Green Road.

“The park is used by a lot of constituents on the north side of the precinct, and we said that it needed a cleanup and an uplift,” Fuentes said. “We decided to paint the benches and thought, ‘Why don’t we get students to participate on the day of services for MLK Day.’”

On Jan. 21, around 50 students, teachers and community members joined the commissioner in painting more than 100 picnic tables there to prepare for the installation of barbecue pits. Fuentes, however, said that there is still much more to do.

“There are a lot of benches in that park, so we are going to have a second round to try to finish the project,” the commissioner said.

There are currently 110 benches at the park, and since the group was unable to complete their MLK Day task, students reached out to Fuentes to finish what they started. He agreed.

“We started painting and the project took a life on its own,” Fuentes added. “We encouraged them to make the benches their own; we did not want to dictate the colors or patterns. We encouraged them to make the park their own place.”

Fuentes said the students’ eagerness to continue the project has led to plans to do the same at other local parks. New playground equipment has already been ordered and new mulch is scheduled to be grounded.

“We want them to be able to go to the park and feel like they are a part owner of it since they had a hand in beautifying it,” Fuentes said.

The Delta Lake Park has a softball field, playground equipment, an open pavilion, barbecue grills with picnic tables and areas for jogging, bicycling and bird watching. The park has been recognized by the state of Texas for its scenic environment and quality park services.

The continuation of the project was scheduled for Monday, but was postponed due to school exams being administered next week.

Students from the Monte Alto, Edcouch-Elsa and La Villa school districts have agreed to volunteer, but a date for the event has not been finalized yet.