Robstown officials celebrated the near-completion of the city's new Centennial Plaza during a chilly ribbon-cutting Friday morning that was underscored by brisk winds and sweeping hopes for the future.
Mayor Pro Tem Elias Vasquez thanked the crowd of about 100 people for attending the ceremony, saying the new plaza at 505 E. Main Ave. would be a place for people to meet and to development friendships.
Armando Gonzalez, president of the Robstown Improvement Development Corporation that oversaw and funded the $220,000 project, said the Centennial Plaza was on the RIDC's wish list a couple years ago and finally came to fulfillment Friday after about seven months of construction that were delayed by rain last summer.
Gonzalez said the Centennial Plaza and its 18,000-square-feet of open space would serve two purposes. He said the plaza is an element of the Main Avenue improvements and it would help retain businesses along the thoroughfare.
Gonzalez also said the plaza was a way of rewarding Main Avenue businesses and their customers and it is something for all the people of Robstown.
The plaza is surrounded by wrought-iron fencing and contains a gazebo, paved walkways, palms trees and shrubbery, with lighting on the way.
Gonzalez said it would be open during daylight, although its hours of operation and operating procedures haven't been defined.
"Right now, we haven't determined that," he told the newspaper, "or the actual rules in regards to the park."
Esther Oliver, a local aide to U.S. Rep. Solomon P. Ortiz, represented the congressman and Robstown native at the ceremony.
"He would be so proud if he were here," Oliver said. "It's just amazing, all the projects that are blossoming in Robstown."
District 34 state Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, said the park would be a great addition to Robstown.
"Happy Birthday to you and the city of Robstown," said Herrero, who is also the RIDC's attorney.
Vasquez told the crowd that a top Corpus Christi official told him 15 to 20 years ago that Robstown was dying, and that the city should disincorporate and be annexed by Corpus Christi.
"That saddened me. We were stuck. We were at a standstill," Vasquez said. "But you can see the projects that have been developed in the last 15 years."
Vasquez said the city's second 100 years got off to a great start with a large Grand Opening Parade Jan. 12 kicking off the 73rd annual Nueces County Junior Livestock Show.
He said city leaders would start the next 100 years with several projects in mind, including a large outlet mall, a U.S. Army warehouse, inland port and to "fix all the streets in Robstown."
Vasquez said the Jan. 18 ribbon cutting was the city's final event commemorating the city's 100th anniversary in 2007.