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City Corner column: Suggestions sought for improvements for Riverside Park

By By Jennifer Sourdellia
Jan. 12, 2014 at 11:02 p.m.
Updated Jan. 12, 2014 at 7:13 p.m.

Jennifer Sourdellia

I enjoy taking my family to Riverside Park. Are there any new additions to the park planned for the future?

With the community's help and input, the future of Riverside Park will be bright. You, as well as the entire community, will have an opportunity to offer ideas to make Riverside Park a first-class recreational destination for the city. The Parks and Recreation Department is hosting two public meetings to gather ideas for a master plan for Riverside Park. The first meeting will be Monday during the Parks Commission meeting at the city council chambers, 107 W. Juan Linn St. The second meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. March 10, also in the council chambers.

Suggestions and ideas can also be posted on the Parks and Recreation Department's Facebook page, facebook.com/victoriaparks.recreation. Parks and Recreation Director Colby VanGundy said the public's input will be gathered and provided to the parks commission to ensure they are following the wishes of the public when it comes to the future of the city's largest park.

Riverside Park includes more than 565 acres that is situated adjacent to the Guadalupe River. The park already features a children's park, paddling trail, boat ramp, rose garden, disc golf, pavilions, courtyards, baseball fields, a duck pond, hike and bike trails. It is also home to Riverside Golf Course and Rosebud Stadium.

For more information, call the Victoria Parks and Recreation Department at 361-485-3200.

I am confused about easements. Who owns easements?

Easements are for the public good, and every neighborhood benefits from them. As you know, easements are typically granted by the developer of a subdivision to allow companies to provide electrical power, cable TV, telephone and Internet services. Easements also allow a municipality to run water, sewer and, in some cases, storm sewers to a subdivision. Without easements, we would not have many of the creature comforts we have become accustomed to.

In most easements, the city does not own the property, the property owner does. All the city has is an easement to put water, and sewer lines under your property and to restrict what goes on top of those lines in case they need to be repaired. We maintain those underground lines, but the property owner has to maintain their property above the ground.

It is rare, but sometimes, the city has to buy actual property for a major infrastructure project. We had to buy some parcels of land to widen Sam Houston Drive. These purchases were not just easements for underground utilities; these were purchases of true land that affect a property owner's boundary lines. We try to avoid purchasing real property, but to widen Sam Houston Drive, it could not be avoided.

Do you have a question about the City of Victoria? Please submit your questions and comments about any city department to Jennifer Sourdellia in the Communications/Public Information Office by emailing jsourdellia@victoriatx.org or mail to P.O. Box 1758, Victoria, TX 77902.

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