John Longoria, the Corpus Christi-based consultant and Beeville native told council members that he had met earlier in the day with Mayor Santiago “Jimbo” Martinez, City Manager Tom Ginter and Beeville Economic Development Corporation board members and all had decided on a $3.5 million package.
When Longoria spoke to the BEIC board the previous week, He estimated that the entire parks project would end up costing $2.5 million.
“We have all the parts moving now,” Longoria told the council.
Plans call for restrooms to be built in several locations along with concession stands, press boxes new fields, new grand stands, irrigation systems, dugouts, modern batting cages, aluminum light poles, concrete sidewalks providing handicapped to restrooms, scoreboards, a three-field Pop Warner complex that can also be used by a growing adult flag football program.
Longoria said the project would sink $1.1 million into the Little League complex alone.
“These are just estimates,” Martinez told the council.
Longoria said bids from contractors should come in well below the estimates being prepared by AGCN, Inc. a construction management company located in Corpus Christi.
The consultant said AGCN is preparing estimates for a huge athletic project being planned in Corpus Christi. The same company is working on the estimates for the projects here.
The three-field complex currently being planned for property west and north of the Moreno Middle School would cost the city between $80,000 and $90,000 each.
Longoria said he is still working with Beeville Independent School District officials on coming to a possible agreement to use that property for the football complex.
The facilities also would include bleachers for 100 spectators and a half million dollars worth of irrigation equipment.
“We’d want to protect our investment out there,” Longoria said.
That area also would have restrooms, storage facilities, a concession stand and a press box.
“It would be a sports complex instead of just fields,” Longoria said. He also recommended having at least one of those fields lighted.
“We’re trying to get people to come visit us,” Martinez told the council. By lighting fields, games could be played at later times and encourage visitors to spend the night in Beeville’s new motels and eat in the city’s restaurants.
One of the changes in the plans included the construction of a second men’s softball field. Longoria said the infield on the existing facility is in good shape because the men in the league have kept it that way. But he recommended installing six-foot fences around the fields. The same size fences will be installed around all the baseball and softball fields, Longoria said. The higher fences are recommended as a safety issue, he said.
Longoria said that a second field in that area would overlay into an existing men’s flag football field but if the BISD approves the construction of the Pop Warner complex on Moreno land, that would solve that problem.
Longoria then went on to address the construction of a special kids park.
That facility would include a skate park.
Longoria said he had been in contact with Curtis Brothers, an Austin-based designer and builder of skate parks that has already met with city officials.
Longoria said planners were still looking for a location for the kids park. “We’re going to put this somewhere, we just don’t know where yet,” he said.
“I think every community around here now has a skate park,” Longoria said.
“Many of the parks look a lot more like a work of art rather than just a skate park.” Councilman David Carabajal said.
Longoria said planners also looked at the possibility of building a 100x100-foot club house and cart storage facility at the John C. Beasley Municipal Golf Course but he said there would not be enough room for that.
Martinez said the Beeville Boys Club also has requested $100,000 for a canopy and new basketball court like the one recently built at the St. Mary’s Academy complex. He said that probably would also require a new slab and new goals. But he had good things to say about the canopy design because the facility would not allow pigeons to roost above the court.
Longoria said the cost of the entire project had reached $3.5 million with the additions recommended by BEIC board members. He recommended putting up another $400,000 for possible oversight expenses, with all the bond debt to be paid our of 4B sales tax receipts.
The consultant also cautioned the council about choosing a contractor for the project.
“We’re not just looking for a low bidder here. We’re looking for a fair bidder that can do a good job,” Longoria said. “It’s a big number here so we’re going to have to do it right.”
“You’re talking about putting yourself in the game when it comes to park development,” Longoria said Beeville is one of the only communities in the region that has not made significant park improvements lately. He said it has been 30 years since the city made a substantial investment in park improvements.
“We need to do the best job we can,” he added. Longoria also explained that every city which has access to 4B sales tax funds has used that money to finance major parks improvements.
“This is the time to get it done with sales tax bonds,” Martinez said. The mayor said Beeville’s sales tax receipts are expected to be better than normal for the next 10 years or so because of oil field activity in the Eagle Ford Shale formation.
Martinez has pledged to avoid using property tax increases to pay for a massive parks improvements project.
The council took no action following Longoria’s presentation. But they are expected to begin moving on selling the bonds and launching the projects soon.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.