RIO HONDO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Construction of a new pavilion at Adolph Thomae Jr. County Park in Rio Hondo is complete.

On Friday, Cameron County Commissioner Precinct 3 David Garza gave details about the new pavilion open to the public.

Photo by Mark Muñoz, ValleyCentral

“We had numerous activities which included things such as fishing tournaments and there was no way where people could gather you’d be out in the sun, this was all not covered,” said Commissioner Garza. “So we are providing a pavilion to allow for that to happen. This pavilion is available to the public, it’s free of charge. If there is an event, all they have to do is come and or call and reserve it for when they need it.”

Cameron County has also been in the process of restoring and protecting the park’s shoreline. According to Commissioner Garza, the remaining phases will include a bulkhead, a gravity wall, a nature-based living shoreline habitat, and articulated block matting.

“We have the gravity wall that we use by the boat ramps so that we can protect the area around the boat ramp. The erosion rate in this area was one and a half to two feet a year, this shoreline protection will not only take care of the shoreline but also protect the assets that we’ve invested in in the park,” said Garza.

With phases three and four, just completed at a cost of $1.6 million, phase five, is estimated to cost around $4 to $5 million.

“To do all of this, funds have come into the state from things such as the BP oil spill, other federal and state programs that have dedicated monies that are available to them because of damages caused by industry or economy to gulf infrastructure and fines are paid,” said the commissioner.

“The fines are used in many cases, or lawsuits that have been won against certain individuals have been used to create these funding opportunities that we have to now utilize to preserve, protect and enhance our environment.”

Garza said the Texas General Land Office has been a fantastic sponsor, and partner and they want to show them they are good stewards of their investment in Cameron County so that future partnerships are possible.

“Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham has been very supportive and said she’ll continue supporting our efforts. The dollars flowed through the General Land Office, which is in charge of protecting our shorelines and our waterways, and also the quality of water that we have going into these areas,” said Garza.

The park also offers lighted fishing piers, picnic areas, playground, a boat ramp with fish cleaning stations, nature trail, wildlife observation tower, tent camping area, and 35 full-hookup RV sites.

The park is open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. To make RV reservations call the park office at (956) 748-2044.