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New Water’s Edge Park Ribbon Cutting April 18

Jessica Perez enjoys the new playground with two of her three children at The Water’s Edge Park on a recent morning. From the top is Jessica Perez with daughters Lily and Alayna in the swing. Her son, Tino, is not pictured. Photo By Dayna Worchel

Jessica Perez and her three young children were having a blast at the new Water’s Edge Park playground on Shoreline Drive on a recent cool morning. Perez and her exercise group, called Fit 4 Mom, meet to exercise at the park, which fronts McGee Beach and the portion of Shoreline Drive that is closed to traffic. They like coming to the newly named and refurbished park to run with their strollers and let their children play afterward.

“I like the dog park, the water, the soft playground floor and the fitness bars for pullups and situps,” Perez said enthusiastically, referring to the group of metal structures that can be used for circuit-like training.

Although the roughly 22-acre Water’s Edge Park is already in use, the city of Corpus Christi will have an official ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. April 18 at the existing McCaughan Park, 402 S. Shoreline Blvd. at the south end. The acreage includes Sherrill Park, McCaughan Park and McGee Beach.

The public is invited to attend. Elected officials and city staff instrumental in creating the project will recognize key stakeholders then take those attending on a park tour.

New amenities at the Water’s Edge include small and large dog park areas, an outdoor basketball court, and a food truck vending area, said E. Jay Ellington, director of the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department. Also included is a playground with equipment for ages 5-12 and large restrooms that serve the beach and park. Lights will be on at night.

“It really serves the whole bayfront,” Ellington said. “We have what we call the ‘Great Lawn,’ a piece of green. It’s an open field for all types of events, which is where Memorial Coliseum once stood. It’s a multi-functional open space with two big parking lots. Then, we renovated part of Sherrill Park, which is part of the veteran’s memorial area.”

The Water’s Edge dog park was funded by the Vishal Raju Bhagat Foundation, which donated $75,000, and the Coastal Bend Community Foundation, which donated $51,000, according to a news release. The H-E-B Tournament of Champions organization donated $150,000 for the playground and fitness area.

In April 2017, the Corpus Christi City Council voted to rename what had been known as Bayshore Park, The Water’s Edge. Funding for the new park came from a 2008 voter-approved $13 million bond election to realign a portion of Shoreline Boulevard as a part of the Bayfront Master Plan Project. What remained for the park was $5 million, Ellington said.

The area, which was once the footprint of the now-defunct Destination Bayfront initiative, was a separate project from the new Water’s Edge, and the two are not connected, Ellington said. Voters killed the plans after they overwhelmingly rejected a proposed $44 million bond for Destination Bayfront in 2013.

Part of the 2008 bond called for a realignment of a portion of the northbound lanes of Shoreline Boulevard from near Furman Avenue and Buford Street to curve away from the seawall until the lanes merge near William Street, Ellington said. The portion of Shoreline Boulevard that runs closest to the sea wall has been closed to traffic since February 2015.

“Of course, we will utilize the closed roadway as programming space. We have a bike lane in there. The sea wall is right there, too,” he said.

A covered pavilion area at the north end of McGee Beach with room for picnic tables rounds out the amenities.

“This continues our front-door welcoming area of Corpus Christi,’ Ellington said, “and continues our views of the bays, the marina, downtown, and takes advantage of being a part of that tourism atmosphere as well as where our restaurants and shops are.”

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