City accepting nominations for name of new park




A golf cart travels past an Alister Street lot where the City of Port Aransas is planning to build a new park. The city’s parks and recreation department is accepting nominations from the public to name the park. The city council expected to choose the name. Staff photo by Dan Parker

A golf cart travels past an Alister Street lot where the City of Port Aransas is planning to build a new park. The city’s parks and recreation department is accepting nominations from the public to name the park. The city council expected to choose the name. Staff photo by Dan Parker

Officials are collecting name ideas for the new park that is being planned near the Port Aransas Community Center.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department is gathering suggested names for the park, which will be built on a lot that lies northeast of the intersection of Alister Street and Oakes Avenue.

Folks have until Monday, April 15, to submit nominations. Visit tinyurl.com/newparkname and fill out the form with your idea. One entry per person.

The park has been called Community Center Park in construction plans. Another temporary name the park has been called is the Park on Alister Street, said Colleen Simpson, Parks and Recreation Department director.

“Those have all just been temporary names to reference the project,” she said. “I don’t think that’s what anyone wants to see. We want it to be something that clearly defines the area and reduces confusion. We already have a Community Center, we have a Civic Center, we have a Community Park.”

During its meeting April 22, the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is set to choose three names that will be submitted to the Port Aransas City Council for consideration, Simpson said. The council is expected to choose a name during its regular meeting on Thursday, May 16.

The survey is a call for name suggestions, not a vote, she said.

“The facility needs a name. It doesn’t have to be named after someone. It just needs its own identity,” Simpson said. “So, when we’re saying we’re going to do the community tree lighting at whatever the new name is, people know where we’re talking about. It’s exciting to have a new green space and to be able to give it a name that honors maybe the history or the location or the community. I think it’s a fun opportunity to be creative.”

As of Friday, March 5, 181 name entries had been submitted with 18 different name ideas. Many were duplicates, Simpson said.

“This is just submit your ideas, and then it’s up to the board and the council to decide what it is,” Simpson said. “There are some folks campaigning for a name, and it doesn’t give it any more weight. If 100 people submit that name or two people submit that name, the parks board is going to try and just select the name that best fits.”

Suggestions that have been submitted include Mathews Community Park, Farley Memorial Park, Old Town Park, Grosse Community Park, Tarpon Park, Dolphin Park, Nixon Park, Founder’s Heritage Park, Woody’s Way, Mercer Park, Mark Creighton Community Park, Alister Street Park and Marlin’s Way Point Park, Simpson said.

“I really like the ones that incorporate more than one family,” she said. “I think that we could look at the pavilion and the other shade structures that are out there (in the park) and maybe put names on those.”

Simpson wants to remove the word community from any suggestions the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board chooses to avoid confusion as another city park is named Port Aransas Community Park. The park could also be referred to as a square or a green, she said.

The design of the new park is complete, and the council could award a construction contract for the project at its meeting on April 18. Once construction starts, the park is expected to be developed within three months. If everything goes smoothly, the park could be complete in early August, Simpson said.

The “opinion of probable construction cost” is about $1 million, according to city documents. The city allocated $800,000 for the park’s construction in its 2024 fiscal year budget. The council could amend the budget to cover the cost difference when a construction contract is awarded.

The park will be created from the vacant lot at Alister and Oakes and an adjacent portion of Oakes Avenue between Church Street and North Alister Street, which will be permanently closed. The city purchased the lot from Nueces County in 2022,

The greenspace in front of the Community Center will expand north to connect with the vacant lot.

The lot is about 23,600 square feet, and the portion of the road to be closed is about 6,600 square feet. The two combined would make for a green space and a parking area nearly three quarters of an acre in size.

Plans call for the park to have native landscaping, two shaded picnic tables, a music pavilion and stage and an open greenspace. Reclaimed wood from historic Port Aransas structures that have been demolished will be used to help build the stage and shaded areas, Simpson said.

It is also proposed to have an elevated, vegetated dunescape on the west side of the property, acting as a buffer between the park and North Alister Street.

The park’s parking lot will be located on the east side of the property and will provide more parking space for events at the Community Center as the empty lot is being used for overflow parking now.

On the north side of the park, a boardwalk over a drainage area is planned.

In April 2023, the City Council awarded a contract for the design of the park to Richardson-based Halff Associates. The total design cost was $137,000, Simpson said. The money came from hotel occupancy tax revenue, according to city documents.

The city’s Parks and Open Space Master Plan, which was approved by the council in November 2022, directed the city to develop the vacant lot into a park.

Contact Kathryn Cargo at reporter@portasouthjetty.com.

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