UPDATE: This story was updated Nov. 16 to reflect the updated schedule for the duck pond restoration. More information about the project is included in this Sept. 21 memo to City Council.
PHOTO #1: The Riverside Park duck pond is seen in this 2014 file photo.
PHOTO #2: This preliminary new design for the Riverside Park duck pond was approved by the Victoria City Council on March 3. The final design will include a sidewalk that extends all the way around the outside of the pond.
The City of Victoria on May 27 was notified that it had received a matching grant up to $621,509 from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department to repair the Riverside Park duck pond.
“We are excited to receive this funding to repair an iconic structure that many of our residents have been missing,” said Assistant City Manager Mike Etienne. “The City is committed to pursuing grant funding for projects, which will allow us to improve our city and our amenities in a fiscally responsible manner.”
TPWD officials will need to tour the site and review documents before the construction of the pond can be put up for bidding. City officials expect that construction will begin in early 2022. The project will take 10-12 months to complete.
Problems below the surface
The duck pond had been closed since 2018 because of sidewalk damage that was partly caused by Hurricane Harvey. The City Council in September 2018 awarded a contract to repair the sidewalk and to dredge the pond to improve water flow.
However, after crews drained the pond, they found that the pond had structural damage that required more extensive rebuilding.
In May 2020, the City Council approved a design contract for the new duck pond. The total cost of the renovation was budgeted for $1.25 million.
A new source of funding
In October, the City Council authorized the City to apply for a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department matching grant for the duck pond project. In order to be eligible for the grant, the City was not able to proceed with construction as City officials waited to learn whether they would receive the grant.
On May 27, City staff were notified that the duck pond project had been selected to receive funding.
According to plan
The duck pond reconstruction aligns with Victoria’s community-driven 2035 Comprehensive Plan, which includes recreation/amenities as one of five focus areas and calls for investment in upgrades for existing parks.
During a May 18 presentation to the City Council, City of Victoria grants administrator Katy Connally explained to the council that when grant providers decide which projects to fund, they often consider whether a project is aligned with its City’s comprehensive plan or master plans.
The City is in the process of developing a new Parks & Recreation master plan with input from Victoria residents. The plan is expected to be adopted this fall.
Once the plan is approved, City officials will use the plan to seek grant funding for changes and improvements that residents would like to see.