The City Parks and Recreation has partnered with Flow Paddle Co. and starting Monday, the company will rent kayaks, inner tubes and bikes and offer guided kayaking tours.

“We’re very excited to be able to partner with Flow Paddle Co to offer this service to residents,” said the City’s Parks and Recreation Director Jason Alfaro. “Partnering with a private business allows the city to offer services we might not be able to provide otherwise. It’s a win-win-win for us, the business owner and the community.”

The new business is housed inside the Parks and Recreation building near the Rose Garden in Riverside Park, 476 McCright Drive. Parks & Recreation will continue to use part of the building for storage while renting space to Flow Paddle Co.

This is the first time the city has worked with an outside company to offer kayaking in Riverside Park since Gerry’s Kayaks closed almost three years ago. Ashley Magee, owner of Flow Paddle Co, purchased the fleet of kayaks from Gerry’s Kayaks owner Gerry Wyant.

“Gerry and his wife Nancy are lifelong family friends of ours, and we rented often from them for years when they operated Gerry’s Kayaks,” Magee said. “When I found out that he wasn’t going to reopen after Harvey, I pondered over it for a few months, discussed it with my family and friends and decided that opening a new kayak business was something I really wanted to do.”

Magee attended an Explore Victoria Texas meeting in February hosted by the City of Victoria and spoke with Danielle Williams, then the interim director of Parks & Recreation, about the possibility of opening her kayak business in Riverside Park. After discussing the matter further with department officials, Magee was able to set up in the former administrative space.

“This new space in Riverside Park is going to substantially increase business,” Magee said. “Most of my customers so far have been friends and acquaintances. Having a physical space will increase visibility and allow me to take walk-in clients.”

Magee is in the process of installing a snow cone machine at her business, and she plans to expand to offer paddleboard and scooter rentals as well.

Alfaro said that creative strategies such as public-private partnerships will be crucial as Parks & Recreation moves forward developing and implementing its new master plan.

“As the planning process begins, we’ll be gathering feedback from residents about the types of programs and services they’d like to see,” Alfaro said. “Even if we don’t have the internal staff or resources to provide something residents want, we can still think outside the box to expand our city’s recreation amenities.”

For more information, call Victoria Parks and Recreation at 361-485-3200. To rent a kayak, call Flow Paddle Co. at 361-935-2618.

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