A proposed $1 million park project in Banquete will now be moving forward after it was announced last week that state funding has been secured.
"It's a go, finally," Precinct 2 Commissioner Betty Jean Longoria said. "It was worth the wait - you know, we had to wait a whole year, but it was worth it."
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, which the county has previously been turned down for, 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.
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 they had already constructed a brand new, multi-million dollar elementary school, county officials have said.
Currently, the commissioner has about $500,000 allocated to the project, money that was part of the Certificates of Obligation 2004 Series. Had the grant been denied, county officials had a back-up plan in place - continue work as scheduled, minus some parts.
Currently, 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.
Now, Longoria and county staff will go back to the drawing board and settle on a scale for the project, but most of the work will have to wait until the county hears from the state on a grant contract.
"We really can't do any work until we get that contract," Grants Administrator Roxana Hunt said.