Bayfront Peninsula Park project

Construction has begun on parts of the Bayfront Peninsula Park project. The city was recently awarded a grant that will go towards a walking/biking trail at the park. (Ross Stapp/Wave photo)

Economic development initiative underway

The city of Port Lavaca can now focus on upgrading Bayfront Peninsula Park after being awarded $200,000 through a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

In 2018, City Manager Bill DiLibero submitted an application to TPW for its National Recreational Trail funds. The $200,000 grant will be used to create a walking/biking trail at the peninsula.

The city has allocated $500,000 of its own funds to the project so, with the additional $200,000, DiLibero is hopeful to get everything done that they want.

The proposed plan has a mile-long loop spanning the entire park. The loop will have modern solar lighting along the trail, so people can utilize it day or night.

In addition to the trail, the plans create a more organized park that separates parking and vehicle traffic areas from walking areas.

The project has started on the south side of the park by adding sidewalks, parking areas, and other improvements, DiLibero said.

“We will continue until we get to the area where the flags are. From the flags along the northern edge of Veterans Memorial Park will be the TPW portion of the project,” DiLibero said.

According to an email sent to DiLibero from TPW, an environmental and archaeological resource view of the area will be conducted before TPW begins its portion of the project.

They estimate that this process “can take up to 12 months or more to complete.” They are projecting entering into an agreement in May of 2020, according to DiLibero.

Aside from the $700,000 designated for the park, the city realized there was substantial damage to the pirate ship playground at the peninsula. Most if not all of the damage at the peninsula was due to Hurricane Harvey in August 2017.

“The damage was so bad that we had to remove the structure. We are in the process of identifying a new play structure with the Parks Board to replace the structure that we removed,” DiLibero said.

Currently, the boat ramp is being replaced at the peninsula, and following that, construction at Nautical Landing Marina will begin.

“Although it is a different property, its improvements will enhance the park,” DiLibero explained.

The city has submitted a Hazard Mitigation grant proposal which is FEMA money and funded through the General Land Office. The grant would be used to rebuild the breakwater adjacent to the park, DiLibero said.

Possibly one of the city’s biggest projects is currently being discussed and has been for several years. The project involves connecting a boardwalk from Smith Harbor to City Harbor then down to Lighthouse Beach.

“We hope that this planning process begins before the end of the summer,” DiLibero said.

One of DiLibero’s goals since becoming city manager has been to enhance economic development. The Bayfront Peninsula Park improvements are the beginning of this initiative. He hopes to bring more visitors to Port Lavaca to visit the amenities it provides.

“Ideally, the city goals are to improve all of the city parks, so that city residents have better amenities to use, particularly along the waterfront,” DiLibero said.