Some of Miranda Zepeda’s most cherished memories from growing up in Victoria include walking along the duck pond at Riverside Park.
“It has always been a favorite spot in Victoria,” she said. “Day or night, there was always somebody there, whether they were fishing, sitting at picnic tables enjoying a meal or watching the ducks. I loved it.”
Now 24-years-old, Zepeda wants to create memories at the pond with her own children. She was able to bring her 3-year-old son, Maeson Ceballos, to the pond when he was very young before it closed to the public in late 2018. But her 2-year-old son, Landen Ceballos, hasn’t ever been able to go.
Zepeda said she was glad to hear recently that the city is making progress to restore it.
“I’m so glad something that has been around for so long will come back so I can bring my kids, and hopefully it will be better than before,” she said. “It has always been a place I loved to go.”
The Victoria City Council in mid-May approved an agreement with Luck Design Team to do architectural and engineering services for the duck pond. The contract is for about $90,000.
Fixing up the duck pond and creating a dog park are two of the most common pieces of feedback residents share with the city parks and recreation department, said Danielle Williams, the city’s Main Street program director, who was recently working as the parks and recreation interim director.
“People have always loved this duck pond,” she said Monday.
Before the pond was closed to the public in late 2018, Williams said the pond had been a favorite spot at Riverside Park for years. After Hurricane Harvey hit, the parks department planned to improve the sidewalk around the pond. But after draining it, staff discovered underlying structure support issues with the existing sidewalk and realized that more work was needed to support the sidewalk.
Since then, the pond has been closed to the public and still awaits repairs with the correct support underneath the sidewalk to make it safe for pedestrians to walk and fish from the side of the pond.
But progress to restore the pond was made in March when the council reviewed two preliminary design options and estimated costs for repairs and improvements. Both possibilities listed optional amenities, including the addition of a ceremonial gazebo and a floating fishing pier.
Zepeda said she and other residents thought the pond might not ever be restored.
“It really got let go,” she said. “So hearing about the remodel and it being fixed up is so great.”
The council decided on an option that proposed having one major pond rather than two smaller ponds; eliminates the restrictions that promoted silting and sediment buildup; removes the island and island gazebo; and more.
The estimated cost for the project is about $1.25 million. The city plans to apply for a grant with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department in the fall to help cover the cost.
Mayor Rawley McCoy said at the March meeting he had been recently contacted by someone who had visited the park and asked what’s going to happen with the pond.
“People are concerned, and I believe it’s a good thing that we can move forward with it,” he said.
Luck Design Team is expected to begin a site survey of the area this week, Williams said Monday. From there, if all proceeds as planned, construction should begin next April, and the project should be complete in November 2021.
“I think once it’s complete and finished up, people will be really happy,” Zepeda said.