HARLINGEN — The ponds are lined and loaded with bull rock, and all that’s left is to border them with fill dirt and plant the aquatics.
Jeff Lyssy, superintendent of parks for the Parks and Recreation Department, said the long renovation of Hugh Ramsey Nature Park finally has a finishing date — Oct. 22.
At least 150 Texas State Technical College student volunteers are expected to help plant the aquatics on the edges of the wetland ponds at the park in connection with national Make A Difference Day.
Lyssy said volunteers are expected to plant 3,000 separate aquatic plants along the perimeter of the ponds.
“Prior to that date we’re going to have a team leader meeting with the TSTC students to identify them as leaders to teach them how to plant properly,” Lyssy said.
“The goal of this is to try to filter the water through the vegetation to make it cleaner going into the Arroyo Colorado,” he added.
The aquatic plantings will be the culmination of months of work on the popular park. A $158,000 grant from the Texas General Land Office and its Coastal Management Program enabled the city to pave the parking lot, and construct a bio-retention basin that forms the first filter in a series to clear pollutants from parking lot runoff.
The bio-retention basin also was seeded with native plants, although officials say some of the Texas wild olives succumbed to the summer heat and will be replanted this fall.
Lyssy said the training for TSTC student leaders satisfies an educational component stipulated by the grant the parks department received.
Renovation of Hugh Ramsey park began in January and led to the park’s closure for two-and-a-half months.
But time, Parks Director Javier Mendez said, is now a factor.
“We want it completed before the first week of November because of the birding festival,” Mendez said, referring to the 23rd Annual Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival that opens Nov. 2.