A proposed $1 million park project in Banquete is on the verge of being scaled down because of a possible lack of financial assistance from the state of Texas.
Nueces County Commissioners had voted in June to reject three bids that had been received for the project after county officials discovered the county would be disqualified from consideration for a grant it had applied for that would help fund the work if it awarded a contract.
County commissioners unanimously approved submitting an application in March to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for a grant from its Texas Recreation and Parks Accounts Program.
The grant has a maximum award of $500,000 and requires a match of at least the amount being requested. So, if the county receives the maximum amount, it would have to put up a match of $500,000.
At a July 9 meeting, however, Precinct 2 Commissioner Betty Jean Longoria said plans are being made to move forward with a smaller-scale version of the $1 million project if the grant is not awarded to the county. County leaders won't know if the grant was awarded until August, she added.
"With or without the grant, something is going to get done out there," Longoria said.
The 17-acre stretch of land on which the park is to be located was donated by the Banquete Independent School District in 2006 and contains a baseball field and concession area. It is located near the high school.
The school district had donated the land because it would have been unable to develop the property properly and renovate the baseball field, since it had already constructed a brand new, multi-million dollar elementary school, Longoria said.
Currently, the commissioner has about $500,000 allocated to the project, money that was part of the Certificates of Obligation 2004 Series. However, a source said Longoria has a total of nearly $650,000 available for the project if the grant is denied.
"She has some money already," the source said, adding the commissioner is trying to do more with the project with state funds.
Preliminary development plans include building a walking trail, softball field, Little League and T-ball field, basketball and volleyball courts and a multi-purpose field, among other things, but other amenities may be cut out of the scaled-down plans, like a proposed pond.
County commissioners also approved a $15,200 contract July 9 with Architect TKO for the design and coordination of the project.
The firm had been approved as the project's architect in April 2007, but the contract expired in December with the project remaining incomplete.