By FERNANDO DEL VALLE
SAN BENITO — City residents have waited a long time to cool down over a double-dribble aqua spout.
And it looks like they’ll have to wait until next summer to feel the fresh blast at the new Southside Park.
For years, city leaders have debated funding a splash pad to cool down residents after shutting down the public swimming pool in 2009.
The big step occurred recently when city commissioners approved spending $85,207 to purchase a splash pad from Spring-based Kraftsman Outdoor Fitness.
The splash pad will include fun forms featuring an aqua arch, a double-dribble aqua spout, goooaaaal spout, blitz spout, a batter-up spout, a splash-o-later baby long legs and all equipment that regulates the dynamic sequence and drains for the water, according to Martha McClain, the city’s spokeswoman.
The purchase through the state’s BuyBoard, a purchasing cooperative of state-approved vendors, saved the city $16,933.
Commissioners also approved spending $113,000 to purchase lighting from Musco Sports Lighting in Round Rock.
Four light poles will stand over one of the park’s soccer fields, McClain stated.
The 12.5-acre park will also include a playground, concession stand, restrooms, exercise equipment and a walking trail.
The city has set the park’s completion for next summer.
“It’s exciting to be moving this park project along,” Art Garza, the city’s parks director, stated. “It will provide some brand new facilities for citizens to have easy access to an area that will improve the overall quality of their families’ lives.”
Funding a key part
For months, the city has worked to fund its first south-side park.
“It has taken us some time to get the financing in place,” Garza stated. “Sometimes money can be hard to come by but we have continued to work hard to make this happen.”
The city is funding the park through a $494,744 grant from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation and a $314,780 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Meanwhile, the city is also using $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds along with revenue from its general fund budget, McClain stated.
The park’s splash pad helps make it a highly-awaited attraction.
Since the city closed its Olympic-sized swimming pool in 2009, residents have called for a new pool.
However, a pool’s big price tag along with its high annual operating costs have placed that project on hold.