Park to receive upgrades to power Christmas decorations

HARLINGEN — For years, when the master of ceremonies turned the switch, McKelvey Park’s old electrical system couldn’t light up the city’s entire Christmas display.

And this year, the city’s Christmas scene will be bigger than ever.

So next week, city crews will launch a two-month, $75,000 project to upgrade the park’s electrical system to power new lighting, Javier Mendez, the city’s parks director, said yesterday.

“It’s huge,” Mendez said. “We’re upgrading everything. We’re doing a huge reconstruction of the electrical (system) out there.”

As part of the project, crews also will light up part of the park’s Hike and Bike Trail, Mendez said.

From McKelvey Park’s parking lot area to the Arroyo Colorado’s floodway, crews will install four fixtures to light up the trail at night, Mendez said.

Mendez said the city will install new electrical outlets to handle the increased power demand.

This December, the new outlets will send power to $45,000 worth of new Christmas lights, Mendez said.

“There’s going to be a lot of ornaments and figurines,” he said. “They’ll take a lot more service.”

Mendez said new lights will spell “Feliz Navidad” and “Merry Christmas” in the trees overlooking the arroyo.

Two new displays will feature towering images of Santa Claus waving to spectators and giving boxes of Christmas gifts, Mendez said.

For too long, the park’s current electrical system couldn’t light up part of the city’s yuletide display as officials ushered in the Christmas season in early December.

When officials pulled the switch, power turned on most of the Christmas lights, but the surge would trip the breakers, cutting power to a section of display, Mendez said.

“It was too much power,” he said. “We were lighting too much.”

The park will remain open as crews work through the end of October to upgrade the electrical system.