After delays, McAllen baseball complex slated for November completion

McALLEN — After a bond election followed by years of delays, the city’s $11 million youth baseball complex is scheduled to be complete by Nov. 14, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hernandez said Monday.

McALLEN — After a bond election followed by years of delays, the city’s $11 million youth baseball complex is scheduled to be complete by Nov. 14, Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hernandez said Monday.

The complex, paid for through a $15 million 2013 bond issue approved by McAllen voters, is located at the corner of 29th Street and Auburn Avenue. It will feature 11 baseball fields, according to the city’s presentation, with provisions for potential development of one additional field as a Miracle Field, which would comply with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. Construction on the complex began in February.

As of Monday, Hernandez told city commissioners during a workshop session that the concrete foundation for concessions and ticket booths was complete. Plumbing work and wall construction are in progress, he added.

Storm and sewer lines are 95 percent complete while water is 60 percent finished. Field lights, which will allow for games to be played at night, are nearly done, Hernandez said. Last year, a completion date was set for April of this year, but bids came in higher than city commissioners anticipated, so they rejected the bids last September.

The commission ultimately accepted and awarded the project in November to Hellas Construction, an Austin firm that specializes in building sports complexes. Hellas came in as the lowest bidder at $9.117 million. Five other bids — all local — came in higher.

The money for the baseball complex was one of three separate propositions in the 2013 bond election. One other proposition that passed was for $15 million toward the Performing Arts Center, which opened late last year. The final proposition that passed was for another $15 million toward street improvements, which have been broken up into more than 10 separate projects. Several are finished while others will be finished this year and most of the remaining projects will be complete in 2018.

Multiple commissioners, particularly Veronica Whitacre, John Ingram and Richard Cortez, were frustrated at the hold up on the baseball complex last year. At a September 2016 commission meeting, Whitacre pressed Hernandez about the completion date.

“It’s going to be finished in October 2017?” Whitacre said at the meeting last year.

“Yes, ma’am,” Hernandez said.

Ingram was also skeptical, which turned out to be prophetic, as the project is now scheduled for a November completion.

“Really?” Ingram said. “Well, let’s see.”