Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission awards $500,000 grant towards $1.25 million City of Elsa Community Trail Park, announces Rep. Canales.
An abandoned railroad property that runs through the center of town will be transformed into the planned $1.25 million City of Elsa Community Trail Park thanks in part to a $500,000 grant awarded for the project on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, according to Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.
The city government will be providing $250,000 in local funds for the park and is scheduled to receive $500,000 from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation (VBLF). The city’s Economic Development Corporation had already purchased for $280,576.95 the entire abandoned railroad right-of-way to use for this project site, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission manages and conserves the natural and cultural resources of Texas and provides hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
“I congratulate the City of Elsa’s elected and appointed leadership, and offer my deep appreciation to the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for working together on what will be a tremendous natural resource that will be used and enjoyed for generations,” Canales said. “Elsa is an important part of the Valley, it has a strong and growing economy, it features a public school system that features many of the best and most talented educators and students in Texas, and its residents are among the finest people you would ever meet.”Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg
D. Austin Colina, Consultant with Carlos Colina-Vargas, AICP & Associates of Austin, prepared the grant application to the state commission on behalf of the City of Elsa.
In the successful grant application to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, it stated: “the City of Elsa is fully committed to providing the effort and financial resources and/or local funding to accomplish these goals: enhance the physical wellness of its population and provide adequate recreational opportunities for the community.”
According to city leaders, the development of the park, whose address is 102 Diana Street, will benefit the community in several ways.
“They will encourage healthy lifestyle choices by adding additional recreational opportunities for children and teens,” the grant application stated. “They will provide a safe location for exercise and leisure for adults and the elderly. They will supply much-needed recreational facilities for the disabled. Through these efforts, the city hopes to promote exercise, combat obesity, nurture wellness and improve quality of life.”Elsa City Leaders
Members of the Board of Trustees, Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District, also have been very supportive of the planned city park, and negotiations are underway for a partnership between city and school district officials to link the school district’s existing sports and recreation facilities.
Other critical elements of the planned park, according to the grant application, follow:
The city is undertaking a major project to provide the Delta Area community with a linear park with multipurpose trails developed on a tract of land that was part of an abandoned railroad property that runs through the center of the city.
The entire project is approximately 180 ft. Wide and runs 1.4 miles from Hidalgo Street on the west side of the city and extends eastward to Mile 4 West Road at a point where it abuts the Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District’s (EEISD) middle and high school campuses.
The total area of this former railroad right of way is planned for new park facilities, a total of approximately 21.6 acres. The city’s Economic Development Corporation has already purchased for $280,576.95 the entire abandoned railroad right-of-way to use for this project site.
Users of all ages considered in the planning of these facilities and conceptual designs include something for everyone. Additional facilities for the elderly and handicapped, as identified in Elsa’s Park Master Plan, are included.
At a minimum, the proposed park will feature the following recreational elements:
- Playscape structures with shades using recycled materials;
- Handicapped play structure w/shade and swing Splash pad with recirculating water system;
- 8,000 LF of multi-use recreational trails;
- 400 LF of rustic trails Exercise stations (6) with LED solar light and water fountains;
- Sheltered picnic units (10) using recycled materials;
- Pergola with shade using recycled materials;
- Adult (bench) swings (4) using recycled materials;
- Group shelter (3) with rain catchment;
- Sheltered benches, rest stations (12) using recycled materials;
- A restroom facility with efficient fixtures;
- Landscaping/Drip irrigation;
- Forestation/Native tree planting;
- Recreation solar lights with controls;
- Permanent signs/Information board using recycled materials; and
- Children’s play equipment at rest sites.
Each of the blocks in the project area will have its own access point.
Most will have small parking areas, and others will have pedestrian ramps and walkways for entrances.
No less than fourteen (14) total access points are anticipated for the completed developments with approximately ten (10) included in this application (six  vehicular and four  pedestrian).
Applicants are allowed approximately three years from the date of Commission approval to complete all project elements. Approved projects should be accomplished on time by the Applicant unless delays result from extraordinary circumstances beyond the Applicant’s control.
The schedule for the City of Elsa Community Trail Park is:
- Compliance/Appraisal and acquisition – 3 months;
- Design/Plans and Specifications – 9 months;
- Bids/Start of Construction – 3 months;
- Construction Period –12 months; and
- Completion/Final Inspection and Closeout – 3 months.
Pamela Morales contributed to this article. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who is the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation, represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, which includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr, and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).