La Feria News

FOUR YEARS LATER

La Feria’s Nature Park “Just keeps getting bigger and better”

La Feria’s Wildlife and Nature Park became a reality on July 2009 after two years of hard work and dedication by the city administration, government funding and the generosity of countless interested citizens. Now, after four years, has the dream of a family-oriented playground for La Feria citizens come to fruition as the planners visualized? To find out, LA FERIA NEWS talked to Nature Park users and the mayor.

Mayor Steve Brewer was not lacking for words to describe how he and city officials see the results of the work of their hands. “We are so proud of this beautiful park that has become a notable feature of our city,” the mayor said. “Not only do our local residents use it regularly, but it has become a very popular destination for our winter visitors and appreciative birdwatchers from all over the Valley.

Jim and Laurie Johnson are regular joggers at the park.

Jim and Laurie Johnson are regular joggers at the park.

“With reference to that last remark, the mayor said that future plans include expanding the park to make it a “must-see” stop on the list of recognized Valley birding spots. “Birding is big business,” he said, “and we want to be included on the list as the 10th recommended viewing place along with the other nine listed by the World Birding Association.” “To that end,” you’ll notice a beautifully-designed birdwatchers viewing shelter overlooking the small lake,” he added, saying, “You can usually find a number of domestic and migrating birds stopping here for a break.”

The park is family-oriented. There are carefully laid-out jogging and mile-long hiking paths. The two play areas dedicated to children have become a fun-time place for families looking for a safe place for their kids to have a good time. And, of course, this is a place just to sit and enjoy a moment of peace. The presence of regular patrols by the La Feria Police Department keep it that way.
During our visit, LA FERIA NEWS met up with two couples who are regular joggers, and really bragged up the place. One couple spends six months of the year in La Feria and love the walking and jogging facility. They are Jim and Laurie Johnson of McGraph, Minnesota. Jim said they really appreciate a beautiful place to exercise with no traffic jams or problems.

Bill and Dean Pizzey from Canada love the nature park

Bill and Dean Pizzey from Canada love the nature park

Bill and Dean Pizzey of Hadashville, Manitoba, Canada, who stay at V.I.P. RV Park each winter, say, “We love it and admire how it is so carefully maintained. It just keeps getting bigger and better.”

Mayor Brewer said that the city is indebted to so many for the Nature Park that it is difficult to know where to start: The Nature Park was conceived and sponsored by the City of La Feria with funding assistance through these sources: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), the La Feria Economic Development Corporation (LFEDC), the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Agency.

There were generous donations by so many individuals, such as: Steve Bauer, who donated the 100 or so Palm trees lining the walkways. The Mayor said the Bauer family has been part of the local scene since even before La Feria was a city. “The family has a tremendous history. The city is grateful for their assistance,” he said.

And, finally credit goes to whom credit is due: At the time of the July 2009 official dedication of the park, the city leaders were as follows: Steve Brewer, Mayor; Lori Weaver, Mayor pro-tem; John E. Betancourt, Commissioner, position 1; John Hernandez, position 2; Victor Gonzalez, position 4; Angelica Baldivia, position 5; and City Manager, Sunny Philip. Maybe it’s high time to discover this jewel in your own backyard.

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