HARLINGEN — Sometimes even beaches are not enough.
The City of South Padre Island has received a $500,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to enter into Phase II of its overhaul of a non-sandy community feature on the Island, John L. Tompkins Park, at 6100 State Park Road 100.
The money from TPWD will be matched by the city under the terms of the Non-Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants, which are limited to cities with populations fewer than 500,000.
Phase I of the renovation of the park, which is located near the Ramada by Wyndham and Suites South Padre Island, was completed in 2016. That work expanded parking and added basketball courts and restrooms.
The next phase will add new amenities for families and kids, for people working out and for people just hanging out.
“Phase II will entail seven components that are going to be included,” said Debbie Huffman, parks and recreation manager. “A walking trail, seven exercise stations, two picnic areas, two shade pavilions and additional play equipment, a bocce ball court and a soccer field.
“We’re going to include some solar lighting and that’s where the state park component of the park will be located,” she added.
The enhanced city park will have something for all age groups, Huffman said.
“Any more amenities that we can add to our community and visitors here is a bonus for us,” Huffman said.
And while the Island is rightfully known for its spectacular beaches, Huffman said the park does acknowledge the sand’s proximity.
“Actually from the very back of the park, there is a beach access,” she said. “There’s a hotel or condominium right behind it, but there is a public beach access from the park onto the beach.”
The TPWD grant to the City of South Padre Island was one of 38 awarded which will deliver just over $16 million in competitive local park grants to help fund projects to create and enhance outdoor recreational opportunities.
John L. Tompkins Park Phase II
Bocce ball court