City agency targets Cleveland Avenue for beautification

HARLINGEN — A long-neglected canal in the city is about to receive a makeover.

Keep Harlingen Beautiful has budgeted $20,000 for the Make A Difference Day project, which is being organized by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, and will be held on Oct. 28.

“The project is going to be 12 different sites that we’re going to beautify all along Cleveland Avenue and the canal,” Jeff Lyssy, parks and rec supervisor, told the KHB board last week.

“If you go to the east of that canal you will then run into South B Street, it’s the first intersection, and on either side of South B Street there’s a canal that looks atrocious, it’s terrible,” Lyssy said. “It’s very overgrown, no one has ever paid attention to it in its whole life, and we’re going to make a big, huge change.”

Lyssy said the next major intersection within the project will be on First Street, and then the intersection is Third Street and Cleveland Avenue just west of Coakley Middle School.

Volunteer students from Coakley will handle much of the work in the vicinity of the school.

“We’re going to have Coakley Middle School students actually take two of those canal faces that kind of adjoin to their property, so we’re giving them a lot of ownership and accountability,” said Keep Harlingen Beautiful board member Adele Clinton.

“We also have MMA (Marine Military Academy) students as well that are going to get involved,” she added, “so we have a really big partnership.”

A total of 1,840 brick pavers will be installed in the entire project, 780 plants will be planted and 420 bags of premium red mulch is set aside for deployment.

“What we’re talking about is through these neighborhoods, just regular folks live there, and when they see the changes that we’re going to make, it’s just going to be great,” Lyssy said.

The pavers will be installed in a half-moon shape at the end of the canal, he said.

Jatropha, which can grow up to 12 feet tall as a small tree, will be planted, along with blue plumbago and white plumbago.

To irrigate the new plantings, Lyssy said he has contacted Harlingen Water Works System and they say it will cost approximately $10,000 to install seven irrigation meters.

“You guys adopted a budget of about $20,000 for the National Make A Difference Day, and this project will fall within that budget,” Lyssy said.