HARLINGEN — Soon, construction crews will start paving the way to the city’s multimillion-dollar super park.
City officials are setting aside $23,825 to remove stretches of L and L½ streets, the two roads cutting across Lon C. Hill Park.
As part of a $3.3 million project, officials are turning the park into the area’s first destination park, aiming to draw families and visitors with everything from concerts and sporting events to pavilions and walking trails.
“They’re going to start by clearing the area,” Assistant City Manager Carlos Sanchez said yesterday. “The roadways are being eliminated to connect that whole area into a large park.”
The project will also make the park safer.
“Our goal is to provide a safe area for destination park visitors to cross from one area of the park to the other,” City Manager Dan Serna stated. “Closing these portions of L & L ½ Streets will allow for a safer experience when visiting our park.”
After about three years of planning, the project will launch construction of the super park’s first phase.
Last month, city commissioners met with members of the Harlingen Community Improvement Board to award a $3.3 million contract to Peacock Construction, the lowest bidder, for the first phase’s development.
The Community Improvement Board, with a current fund balance of about $4.1 million, will fund about $2.6 million to lay the foundation of the proposed super park carrying an estimated overall cost of about $8.5 million.
Serna describes the proposed park as a premier outdoor entertainment venue designed to draw families while luring tourist dollars to town.
At City Hall, officials are counting on the park to help drive sales tax revenue, drawing out-of-town visitors who’ll dine at local restaurants and shop in town.
“It’s a high-end quality-of-life facility,” Sanchez said.
So far, a new elaborate playground designed for children including those with special needs already stands at Lon C. Hill Park.
“The park just adds to the inclusive playground to make a facility that everyone can enjoy,” Sanchez said of the proposed super park.
The destination park will include a $279,025 entry court featuring an entrance made up of a sprawling archway looming over stone columns.
“The focal point is going to be the entry way,” Sanchez said.
The park will open into a $554,545 center plaza showcasing a large pavilion and a lighted water fountain with a 52-foot diameter.
“You have a center plaza area and to the side is the water feature,” Sanchez said. “It’s going to create effects when the water shoots from the floor and creates an arch.”
The park will include $587,957 worth of winding walkways leading to a pavilion, gazebo and restrooms.
Serna said the project will connect the park to the new Harlingen Convention Center in the Harlingen Heights business district.
The nine-month construction project is expected to begin in about three weeks.
Park’s proposed phases
Officials have not set construction timetables for as many as four phases originally planned to build up the super park with a proposed $8.5 million price tag.
The project’s proposed phases would include features such as an amphitheater, athletic courts, an adaptive field aimed at special needs children, a children’s discovery center and a dog park.
As part of the project’s fifth phase, officials have proposed construction of a $1.2 million retractable roof to cover Harlingen Field.
The plan to develop a destination park ranks among the top priorities in the city’s new 10-year comprehensive plan.