The second phase of a park project in Banquete is being scaled down by county leaders in hopes of lowering the project's cost when it is sent out for bids.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Betty Jean Longoria said on Monday that she had met with the project's engineer and design team in order to figure out a way to bring down the cost for Phase Two of the Banquete Park Project. A previous set of bids came in substantially higher than the $450,000 budget set aside by the county for the work, with the lowest bid about $300,000 higher than the budgeted amount, and were rejected by commissioners during a Nov. 10 meeting.

Longoria said two items from the previous set of designs were removed and separated into a set of addendums for the project, which will be bid on by potential contractors independent of the new design specifications. The move, Longoria said, will allow the county to see how much the work on Phase Two will cost, while also seeing if there is a possibility for any leftover funds that could be used to pay for the addendum items.

The two items removed are new restrooms for the park, along with the northern portion of a walking trail that would have encompassed an open area of the park set aside for youth activities, Longoria said. The adjustment to the walking trail, she said, would allow for a minimalistic design that would hopefully bring the cost of the project down.

Phase Two of the $1 million Banquete Park Project involves, in part, the construction of new baseball and softball fields, as well as a walking trail and nature preservation area. The project is being paid for by a $500,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife grant, along with a $500,000 match provided by funds in Longoria's budget.

The county is required to build the baseball and softball fields, along with the nature trails and preservation area, as per the guidelines of the state grant received to fund the bulk of the project.