AP NEWS

First of nearly two dozen blue benches installed at park

March 22, 2019

HARLINGEN — Location may be everything when it comes to real estate, but with Valley parks, the prime spots all are in the shade. Workers with the Parks and Recreation Department are beginning to deploy the first of what will be 21 new benches at 47-acre Pendleton Park, which with its mile-long Harlingen Hometown Heroes trail, tennis courts and lake, is one of the city’s more popular venues.

So far, 10 of the new blue benches are in place, some still roped off near the lake as the concrete cures.

“We installed some benches and also removed all the old existing benches that are kind of broken and

real close to the shoreline,” said Armando Villela, parks superintendent. “They’re starting to wash away, and we don’t want them so close to the lake. A lot of them weren’t being used for that same reason, so we moved them back a little bit, and put them in areas that will get shade when it’s hot.”

Villela told the parks and rec advisory board the new benches already are being used.

The old wooden benches scattered around Pendleton Park are, for the most part, quite a bit worse for wear. Many of the bench slats are broken or splintering.

Some of them are too close to the water, and through erosion, are now too high to easily reach and sit on.

All of the new benches were donated to the city by the Harlingen Sunburst Rotary Club, said Jerry Rounds, a member of the parks and rec advisory board and a Rotarian.

“We raised money all year and we ended up with about $8,500,” Rounds said. “We got a good deal on them, because they happened to be on sale. We were going to put 15 in and we ended up with 21. So we got 21 new park benches and they match the ones they have in the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) playgrounds.”

The lifespan of the new plastic benches should be significantly longer than the wooden versions they are replacing, city officials said.