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Additional parking planned for Riverside Park

By DAVID TEWES
Nov. 9, 2010 at 5:09 a.m.


PARKING EXPANSIONThe new parking area would have space for 117 vehicles near Memorial and John F. Lee drives.

The city would pay about $182,000 for materials and equipment and use city labor to build it.

The owners of the Pumphouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar being built nearby would pay about $31,200 for the lighting in exchange for their customers being allowed to use the parking.

Victoria's Riverside Park could get badly needed parking, with the owners of a nearby restaurant offering to help pay for the improvement.

"Parking has always been scarce in the park," Council Member Tom Halepaska said. "We now have an opportunity to have a parking lot built down there and have a private individual partner with us."

The 117-space parking area would be located in the area of Memorial and John F. Lee drives. The city would pay about $182,000 for material and equipment and use city labor to build it.

The owners of the Pumphouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar being built nearby would pay about $31,200 for the lighting in exchange for their customers being allowed to use the parking.

Halepaska said the parking would also benefit the zoo, hikers, bikers and paddle trail members.

Andrea Blomberg, with the Texas Zoo, said the parking would be a welcomed addition. She said the zoo conducts large events, and it only plans to grow, which means even more parking would be needed.

She said the zoo recently had its Haunted Zoo event and had a record number of people. That required closing Memorial Drive to provide for the safety of people standing in line.

"But we actually had to park all of the cars in the grass lot across the road," Blomberg said. "Parking people in the grass lot is not a good idea."

The grassy area has ruts and holes that pose tripping hazards, and the concrete picnic tables pose hazards for the vehicles.

"As we grow, we're going to need more access to parking," Blomberg said. "I'm OK and actually pleased with this plan, even though it's not right next to the zoo."

Dennis Patillo said when he and wife, Louise Hull Patillo, decided to develop the Pumphouse restaurant, one of the problems they faced was limited space for parking.

"I believe the agreement we have come up with is something that works very, very well for the city and can work for us," he said. "The whole vision Louise and I had was to take a first and important step in really redeveloping that park into being the asset that it can be for Victoria."

He said he thinks the parking can help with that by providing additional access to the zoo, golf course and other park features.

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