The city is moving forward with its community sports park, recently voting to seek construction proposals for the project.
Members of the Del Rio City Council unanimously approved a resolution during their July 9 meeting authorizing City Manager Matt Wojnowski to advertise for requests for proposals for the construction of the Del Rio Community Sports Park.
The sports park will be sited in two locations on the east and west side of Kings Way on the city’s north side.
In March 2017, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department awarded a $500,000, 50 percent matching grant to the city for the development of the park. The city has dedicated additional funding for the project, which has also drawn $236,800 in private donations.
During the July 9 meeting, Mayor Bruno J. Lozano made the motion the council approve the resolution to seek construction proposals. Councilwoman Liz Elizalde de Calderon gave the second.
When Lozano asked if there were any questions or comments prior to taking a vote on the motion, Councilwoman Diana Bejarano Salgado said she had a question.
“This all-inclusive playground, which one is this?” Salgado asked, adding she wanted to know about funding for the playground.
“So we’re going to do just the foundation of the playground, the concrete foundation, and that’s it,” said City Planner Janice Pokrant.
“At what cost?” Salgado asked.
“It’s already built into the (overall) cost. We had already built that in, to do that foundation. Then (the playground developers) come in, and they already have the grant. They’re getting the grant for the rest of the project. They already have their funding,” Pokrant replied, noting that Del Rioan Sabrina Peña is currently working on the grant for the construction of the playground.
“We’ve met with the funding source representatives probably four or five times, and they’re ready for the grant to be applied for,” Pokrant added.
“And – I’m not trying to spoil the thing, but it’s happened several times – if for some reason, the total amount of the grant doesn’t come through, then where are we at?” Salgado asked.
“She (Peña) has already thought of that as well. She has sponsorship packages already put together so she can give those to other people. This particular funding source that she has talked to does not want to share the project with anybody else at this point. They want to be the sole provider of this project,” Pokrant said.
Councilman Alfredo “Fred” Carranza Jr. said he had a question as well.
“On your private funding sources, the donations, many of these were committed to years ago. Are they still?” Carranza asked.
“Yes, sir. We’ve communicated with them and let them know that we are moving forward. We’ve had meetings with Sylvia Owens, the representative of the chamber, and I’ve met with them and told them the status, and let them know that we were moving forward,” Pokrant said.
“We’ve actually gotten additional funding from a few of the sponsors, too, so over time, they’ve given more money,” the city planner added.
Salgado indicated she had another question, asking if the Del Rio Chamber of Commerce and the Del Rio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce had made donations to the sports park project.
“The Del Rio Hispanic Chamber did. They did a $500 commitment,” Pokrant said.
“And the Del Rio Chamber is not listed,” Salgado said.
“The Del Rio Chamber of Commerce did not do a monetary donation. They did do a couple of grants. They got a grant from Del Rio’s irrigation canal company, and they raised some funding for the backstop we have there now, and they also paid for the additional design work for the lighting, so they did contribute,” Pokrant replied.
She added there is a separate account holding some of the money left over from the grant obtained by the chamber. Pokrant added the account also holds funds raised by the chamber for the sports park project with the sale of children’s playhouses several years ago.
Salgado said she would like to see all of the contributions that had been made or pledged to the project.
Carranza asked which of the fields in the sports park would have lighting.
Pokrant said all of the fields on the west side of Kings Ways, including three baseball fields and a multipurpose field would have lighting.
Lozano noted, “I think this is an awesome project. I’m very excited to see it come to fruition.”