Featured Photo: Aerial map of the Morris Park Improvements project site. Image: Google Earth / VBX Graphic.
by Adolfo Pesquera
McAllen (Hidalgo County) – The Municipal Commission recently approved an interlocal agreement with McAllen Independent School District on the development of Morris Park.
McAllen Parks and Recreation will complete improvements to Morris Park in partnership with McAllen ISD which will serve both the public and students. Morrive Park improvements will include trail development, landscaping and irrigation, amenities, lighting and site improvement.
The estimated cost is $ 995,000. The vote taken by the city commissioners on October 25 also authorizes Parks and Recreation to proceed with the call for tenders on improvements to the park.
Morris Park, in its present state, is just a grassy area owned by the school district and located between Morris Middle School and Dr. Pueblo Perez Elementary School. Its eastern boundary faces North Main Street and to the west it faces North 16th Street.
The school district sought the city’s support for many months to create a park that would include a playground and related improvements to serve schools and residents in the area. The agreement states in part that “the city wishes to make certain improvements for the use of city citizens and district students, within the Morris campus, and the city and district have determined that it is in the best interest of the parties for improvements to be made.
Just before the vote of the municipal commission, the municipal director Roel Rodriguez informed them that although the parties worked out the details for months, school district administrators recently withdrew the memorandum of understanding. While the two parties had agreed on a site plan, district administrators were now asking the city to set a specific amount and list each item as part of a final agreement.
Rodriguez said the city could not know the exact cost in advance. While the budget is $ 995,000 and Parks and Recreation would strive for the best price, the city should not be bound by a revised deal where it could commit to exceeding budget costs. Rodriguez recommended that Commissioners approve the agreement “as is”, and it was adopted on that condition.
The agreement describes the following improvements:
- Construction and installation of a decomposed granite trail
- Landscaping and irrigation
- Park amenities (including Kwik-Built system, shade structures, benches, bike racks, bins and chess tables)
- Site improvements (to include washrooms, entrances with stairs and ramp, and fencing)
The estimated project schedule is estimated at 18 months from the execution of the MOU, based on the following estimated schedule:
- The project for the 2021-2022 fiscal year will consist of installing a decomposed path, landscaping, lighting and park equipment.
- The 2022-2023 fiscal year project will include landscaping, irrigation and site improvement.
The site plan includes a pavilion. However, the agreement states that it will not be built until the parties agree on how to finance it.
VBX Project ID: 2021-7CFF