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County votes to allocate $400K to rural park upgrades

By Crystal Price
EL PASO, Texas -- On Thursday, the El Paso County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to allocate nearly $400,000 in capital funds for upgrades to rural parks in the county.

The funds are left over from unused 2007 bonds.

Commissioner Vince Perez said it has been years since rural parks in the county have received improvements.

"Many of the rural parks that we have right now are just dirt lots," Perez said. "If the county is going to have these lots, then we might as well maintain them."

Perez said the funds will go toward improving infrastructure needed to water grass and trees at the parks.

"Keep in mind, these are areas that aren't incorporated so they don't have a mayor or city council," Perez said. "The county has a lot of jurisdiction over there, so. I think we have a responsibility to maintain them at least to a basic level where people can enjoy them."

Lauren Thomas, from Canutillo, said Gallegos Park is one of the few places she and her friends can go to hang out after school.

"l like playing baseball, coming to this little playground, and playing with my friends," said Lauren Thomas.

Debbie Coppenbarger, a resident from Canutillo, said she cannot wait to see improvements at the park for all of the kids in Canutllo who have nowhere else to go.

"I have a lot of kids that spend a lot of time here at the park," Coppenbarger said. "It keeps the kids active, and busy and gives them some great hobbies. I think that would be awesome and it would help our community."

Some of the parks that will receive upgrades from the county include Gallegos, Westway, Estrella, San Elizario, Sparks, O'Donnel, Risinger, and San Felipe.

Perez said the improvements to the parks are schedule to roll out within the next six to eight months.

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