Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Public support, strong plan necessary for river area development

Aug. 20, 2014 at 12:51 p.m.

One would be hard-pressed to find a more appealing spot in Victoria than Riverside Park.

With the river, the walking trail, rose garden, golf course, duck pond and much more, it's a place for Victorians to enjoy a sunny day in a variety of ways.

Some see the current Riverside Park as a promise of enterprise to come.

In an August letter to the editor, a reader brought up several reasons why Victoria would benefit from its own riverwalk.

Using San Antonio and New Braunfels as examples of Texas cities who have utilized a bustling river area, the reader said Victoria's riverwalk would connect the beauty of the park to the dormant downtown area.

And with that addition, hotels, restaurants and shops would flourish.

In 2011, an Advocate story was published on the viability of a riverwalk in Victoria.

It's not a new idea - it actually began with a Victoria College instructor turned full-time artist in the late 1970s.

However, public support never caught up with initial excitement and the project was discarded in 1986.

The artists' version of the riverwalk included a $14 million hotel, with a restaurant, spanning the river near Moody Street, a $4 million religious shrine, a center for performing arts and hike-and-bike trails, all of which would link back to Riverside Park, according to the story.

While this version of a riverwalk for Victoria may be superfluous, the prospect of something more shouldn't be shoved aside.

Many citizens believe that Victoria lacks. It lacks entertainment, lacks good shopping, lacks good food and lacks a centralized attraction to bring the community together, some say.

But Riverside Park does bring the community together.

Zumba is offered twice a week near Riverside Stadium, and X-Fit - an hourlong outside workout that includes functional movements, running and core - meets every day in the evening.

There's baseball at the stadium, a zoo for the youngsters and even the occasional bout of live-action role playing.

Encourage your community leaders to revisit the idea of a riverwalk or further development of the river area.

The PumpHouse Riverside Restaurant and Bar is a shining example of an idea that wasn't forgotten because it wouldn't be easy.

Now, the restaurant is happening every day and night, except Monday, and offers some of the best views in the city as well as tasty brunch.

Dream big, Victoria, and realize the potential in our city.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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