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Commissioners Approve $600,000 For New Ascarate Entrance

It’s looked the same for decades.

But commissioners court’s decision Monday to approve more than $600,000 for a new entrance to Ascarate Park means a face lift is finally on the way.

Work on the new entrance is expected to start in the next few weeks and be finished by late summer. With many changes under way or already completed inside the park, this new gateway to Ascarate — no matter the cost — is well overdue for many.

“The entrance has not been refreshed in a number of years,” said Rosemary Neill, director of the County’s Family and Community Services Department. “We think it’ll tie all the elements together beautifully, and while it is quite a bit of money, there is quite a bit of work that needs to be done.”

Commissioners said with all the improvements going on inside the park, like the new clubhouse, new golf carts and even a new pavilion, it only makes sense to redo the entrance. Hopefully, they said, changing people’s perceptions of Ascarate Park.

“As long as they’re doing something to Ascarate Park it’s a big improvement to what it’s been in the past,” said El Pasoan Tony Hernandez, who has been playing golf with his son at Ascarate Park for years. “I think (the new entrance) is going to bring in more people, because it’s going to show there’s a nice park here.”

The new entrance will include a new sign, a roundabout and a completely different landscaping look.

“It’s an investment in this community, a much overdue one,” County Commissioner Anna Perez said. “We do have the money. It’s bond money. It’s not general fund money. It’s not going to impact the operation of any other department.”

Commissioner Sergio Lewis expects it to completely change the park.

“When they come to Ascarate in the future, they’re going to see it’s a whole different place,” Lewis said. “It’s going to be a much more impressive entrance.”

Although he reluctantly voted for the improvements to the entrance, Commissioner Dan Haggerty had this to say about Ascarate Park:

“If we’re gonna keep the pig, we’ve got to doll it up a little bit,” Haggerty said. “There is potential that someday it’ll make money. I’m looking for the day, hopefully before I die, where it’ll break even. But I just don’t see it in the cards.”

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