Cool feature makes big splash

Dozens of kids play at Victoria's newest splash pad at Ethel Lee Tracy Park in 2018. 

Hopkins Park, Ethel Lee Tracy Park and Boulevard Park soon will be improved.

Victoria City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve a resolution authorizing City Manager Jesús Garza to execute an agreement with Fun Abounds Inc., a playground equipment supplier in Sugar Land, for the purchase of equipment to improve the three parks.

The cost for upgrades to all three parks is $302,553.96.

As part of the ongoing effort to improve neighborhood parks that qualify for Community Development Block Grant funding, $124,471.89 will go toward improvements at Hopkins Park, 505 S. Laurent St. The improvements will include the purchase and installation of nine solar lights, a swingset and four picnic shelters.

The sidewalk is lined by 12 solar lights now, and the additional nine will complete the walking trail loop, according to the Council’s meeting packet.

Three existing slabs will receive covering, and another concrete slab and picnic shelter will be added. The existing swingset will be removed and a new one installed, and the fall zone will be upgraded from pea gravel to bonded rubber.

Ethel Lee Tracy Park, 701. E Larkspur St., will receive improvements including four picnic areas with shade structures, solar lighting, benches, picnic tables and barbecue pits.

In May, the Victoria City Council approved the purchase of a new inclusion playground for the park. After the approval, the Cloyde and Ethel Lee Tracy Foundation donated $75,000 for additional equipment to expand the scope of the project.

Finally, $103,127.79 will be used to replace the playground equipment at Boulevard Park, 2204 Rose St.

In March, the playground caught fire and all equipment and fall zone material was destroyed. The damage was covered by the city’s insurance, and Fun Abounds will remove the current structure and install a new playground.

Devin Handy, a student at Victoria East High School, set up a GoFundMe page to help fund repairs of the park after two juveniles started the fire March 19. Handy donated $700 through the fundraiser to the city of Victoria for repairs.

At a council meeting in May, Mayor Rawley McCoy signed a proclamation declaring May 21, 2019, “Devin Handy Youth Activism Day.”

Morgan Theophil covers local government for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6511, or on Twitter

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