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No vote for Cole Park Master Plan

Recommendation to adopt Cole Park Master Plan withdrawn
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Posted at 8:25 PM, Nov 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-02 07:16:03-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A multimillion-dollar vision was presented to Corpus Christi City Council Members at Tuesday's meeting.

The city's Parks and Recreation Department presented Master Plan proposals for Cole Park and Labonte Park. If a Master Plan is approved for the parks it will guide the growth and development for the sites. The Parks and Recreation Department said it will be achieved through prioritized investments, programs, policies, and practices.

Conceptual renderings were provided for the Master Plans. The conceptual rendering for Labonte Park include an observation tower, play area, waterfront trail, and campground. There was also an addition of RV sites and a bathhouse. Both would be near the proposed waterfront trail. The visuals showed picnic tables, kayak launch sites, a boardwalk and gathering pavilion along the banks of the Nueces River. The price tag on the master plan was estimated to be around $38.2 Million.

The new Labonte Park

Cole Park has been on the city's radar due to its qualities which attract tourists to the area near the Corpus Christi Bay. The space was donated by E.B Cole. In 1935, Cole Park was initially located on a six-acre parcel but was expanded to twenty-acres in 1996. Since then, it has gone through many improvement projects including a fishing pier, parking lots and playground. More recent improvements to Cole Park include the resurfacing of the skate park, the design of a splash pad, and the Cole Park Pier which was opened to the public in December 2021.

The conceptual renderings for Cole Park featured additional improvements to the park trails, amphitheater and the promenade. Renovations to the roof structure of the amphitheater was proposed along with additional formal seating and a park trail located behind the berm seating area.

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The estimated cost for the Cole Park Master Plan was around $46 Million. Once a Master Plan is approved for the parks the city would have to look into funding sources.

Councilman Ben Molina said, "Some possible funding sources would be the Hotel Occupancy Tax which is money paid from visitors that are visiting and some money would come out of Parks and rec. budget."

The Master Plans are subject to change if approved because it is conceptual in nature and not a part of the city's comprehensive plan. City officials say the master plan does not represent finals plans and could be changed as a project progresses into engineering and design.

During November's first City Council Meeting, Mayor Paulette Guajardo and councilmembers complimented the renderings. However, City Manager Peter Zanoni withdrew a recommendation to adopt a resolution for the Master Plans because several councilmembers believed the plans needed more input from city officials and community members.

Once a plan is adopted, city officials said it could take years before a grand vision, similar to what was presented, becomes a reality. Councilmembers were also asking for plans which reflect a timeline within three to five years.