Featured: A layout of the planned $1.25 million City of Elsa Community Trail Park, which received a $500,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, according to Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg. The City of Elsa is part of Canales’ House District 40.
Graphics Courtesy TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission awards $500,000 grant towards $1.25 million City of Elsa Community Trail Park, announces Rep. Canales
An abandoned railroad property that runs through the center of town will be transformed into the planned $1.25 million City of Elsa Community Trail Park thanks in part to a $500,000 grant awarded for the project on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, according to Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.
Canales serves as Chair of the House Committee on Transportation.
The City of Elsa is part of Canales’ House District 40.
The city government will be providing $250,000 in local funds for the park, and is scheduled to receive $500,000 from the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation (VBLF). The city’s Economic Development Corporation had already purchased for $280,576.95 the entire abandoned railroad right-of-way to use for this project site, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission manages and conserves the natural and cultural resources of Texas and provides hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.
“I congratulate the City of Elsa’s elected and appointed leadership, and offer my deep appreciation to the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission for working together on what will be a tremendous natural resource that will be used and enjoyed for generations,” Canales said. “Elsa is an important part of the Valley, it has a strong and growing economy, it features a public school system that features many of the best and most talented educators and students in Texas, and its residents are among the finest people you would ever meet.”
D. Austin Colina, Consultant with Carlos Colina-Vargas, AICP & Associates of Austin, prepared the grant application to the state commission on behalf of the City of Elsa.
In the successful grant application to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, it stated “the City of Elsa is fully committed to provide the effort and financial resources and/or local funding to accomplish these goals: enhance the physical wellness of its population and provide adequate recreational opportunities for the community.”
According to city leaders, the development of the park, whose address is listed as 102 Diana Street, will will benefit the community in several ways.
“They will encourage healthy lifestyle choices by adding additional recreational opportunities for children and teens,” the grant application stated. “They will provide a safe location for exercise and leisure for adults and the elderly. They will supply much-needed recreational facilities for the handicapped. Through these efforts, the city hopes to promote exercise, combat obesity, nurture wellness and improve quality of life.”
Members of the Board of Trustees, Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District, also have been very supportive of the planned city park, and negotiations are underway for a partnership between city and school district officials to link the school district’s existing sports and recreation facilities.
Other key elements of the planned park, according to the grant application, follow:
The city is undertaking a major project to provide the Delta Area community with linear park with multipurpose trails that will be developed on a tract of land that was part of an abandoned railroad property that runs through the center of the city.
The entire project is approximately 180 ft. wide and runs 1.4 miles from Hidalgo Street on the west side of the city and extends eastward to Mile 4 West Road at a point where it abuts the Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District’s (EEISD) middle and high school campuses.
The total area of this former railroad right of way is planned for new park facilities, a total of approximately 21.6 acres. The city’s Economic Development Corporation has already purchased for $280,576.95 the entire abandoned railroad right-of-way to use for this project site.
Users of all ages have been considered in the planning of these facilities, and conceptual designs include something for everyone. Additional facilities for the elderly and handicapped, as identified in Elsa’s Park Master Plan, are included.
At a minimum, the proposed park will feature the following recreational elements:
• Playscape structures with shades using recycled materials;
• Handicapped playstructure w/shade and swing Splash pad with water recirculating system;
• 8,000 LF of multi-use recreational trails;
• 400 LF of rustic trails Exercise stations (6) with LED solar light and water fountains;
• Sheltered picnic units (10) using recycled materials;
• Pergola with shade using recycled materials;
• Adult (bench) swings (4) using recycled materials;
• Group shelter (3) with rain catchment;
• Sheltered benches, rest stations (12) using recycled materials;
• Restroom facility with efficient fixtures;
• Landscaping/Drip irrigation;
• Forestation/Native tree planting;
• Recreation solar lights with controls;
• Permanent signs/Information board using recycled materials; and
• Children’s play equipment at rest sites.
Each of the blocks in the project area will have its own access point.
Most will have small parking areas, and others will have pedestrian ramps and walkways for entrances.
No less than fourteen (14) total access points are anticipated for the completed developments with approximately ten (10) included in this application (approximately six  vehicular and four  pedestrian).
Applicants are allowed approximately three years from the date of Commission approval to complete all project elements. Approved projects should be accomplished in a timely manner by the Applicant, unless delays result from extraordinary circumstances beyond the Applicant’s control.
The time schedule for the City of Elsa Community Trail Park is:
• Compliance/Appraisal and acquisition – 3 months;
• Design/Plans and Specifications – 9 months;
• Bids/Start of Construction – 3 months;
• Construction Period –12 months; and
• Completion/Final Inspection and Closeout – 3 months.
MEXICAN/CHICANA/LATINA ACTIVISM AND LEADERSHIP: AN HISTORICAL OVERVIEW SET IN EDINBURG FOR SUNDAY, APRIL 7
Mexicana, Chicana and Latina activists have a long history of community activism to promote educational, economic and social reform in the Southwestern United States. To learn more about this history, the community is welcome to attend “Mexicana/Chicana/Latina Activism and Leadership: An Historical Overview,” a Sunday Speaker Series presentation featuring Maritza De La Trinidad, on Sunday, April 7, 2019 at 2 p.m. at the Museum of South Texas History.
This presentation will highlight the various ways Mexicana, Chicana and Latina activists participated, led, and provided the leadership for various campaigns to improve conditions for Mexicana/Chicana communities.
In Texas, as early as the 1830s, Mexicana and Tejana women advocated for Catholic schools to serve children in their communities. In the 20th century, activists such as Jovita Idar, Adela Sloss Vento, Emma Tenayuca and Gloria Anzaldúa highlighted injustices and discrimination through their writings, social criticism and labor activism.
In the late 1960s, young Chicanas organized and participated in high school walkouts to contest segregated and inferior public education. These walkouts began in in Los Angeles, California, and also occurred in Edcouch-Elsa and Crystal City, Texas. Most recently Mexicanas and Chicanas played key roles in communities through local organizations such as La Unión del Pueblo Entero (LUPE).
De La Trinidad received her doctorate’s degree in history from the University of Arizona. She is an associate professor of Mexican-American Studies and history at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Mexican-American Studies, civil rights and educational history. Her area of expertise and research is Mexican-American history in the Southwest and U.S.-Mexican Borderlands including Mexican-American/Chicana education, bilingual education, desegregation lawsuits, civil rights and Mexican American/Chicana women’s activism and leadership.
Sunday Speaker Series is included in the fee for regular museum admission.
FRIENDS of the MOSTHistory are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship and must present their FRIENDship card at the Admissions Desk.
This program is made possible with generous support from the Carmen C. Guerra Endowment. Mrs. Guerra was deeply committed to supporting educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley. This named endowment was created at the museum by her family to honor her memory and to continue her commitment to providing opportunities for education to the community.
About Museum of South Texas History
The Museum of South Texas History is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is located in downtown Edinburg at 200 North Closner Boulevard on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Hours of operation are from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
Founded in 1967 as the Hidalgo County Historical Museum in the 1910 Hidalgo County Jail, the museum has grown over the decades through a series of expansions to occupy a full city block. In 2003, following the completion of a 22,500 square foot expansion, the museum was renamed the Museum of South Texas History to better reflect its regional scope.
Today, the museum preserves and presents the borderland heritage of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico through its permanent collection and the Margaret H. McAllen Memorial Archives and exhibits spanning prehistory through the 20th century.
Pamela Morales contributed to this article. Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, who is the Chair of the House Committee on Transportation, represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, which includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories which affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.