Victoria planners emphasize recreation along river, creek

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

May 14, 2014 at 12:14 a.m.
Updated May 15, 2014 at 12:15 a.m.

From the vistas at Riverside Park to the trail along Lone Tree Creek, Victoria officials are taking would-be drainage problems and turning them into recreational assets.

While Houston and other U.S. cities are spending millions to restore concrete-lined urban rivers into more natural environments, Victoria officials have long taken advantage of the potential - recreationally speaking - of local water sources.

City Manager Charmelle Garrett said the city is leaning on its master plan for hike and bike trails when it comes to developing the river, creeks and drainage ditches.

However, a River Walk a la San Antonio isn't something in the works or even on the radar.

Garrett said it's more about recreation opportunities.

Planning Services Director Jared Mayfield estimated a developer could spend billions transforming the river banks into a tourism-driven economic engine.

Because of the potential for floods, wildlife habitats and water permits, regulatory agencies, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and others, could pose major hurdles, Mayfield said.

"If Victoria is wanting to take advantage of the river, it would have to be something different than a San Antonio-style River Walk," he said. "There's lots of opportunities to develop the park, but it needs to be done in an environmentally conscious way."

He said he is not aware of any plans being "seriously considered" to develop along the river.

To read what Houston, other cities are doing, click here.



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