City improves access to exercise

Posted: Sunday, January 1, 2017 10:17 pm

Whether it is tossing discs at Monte Bella Park or riding a bike on the Belden Trail, residents of Brownsville may notice that their options have been greatly expanded.

In 2016, the City of Brownsville worked on several renovations that improved access to exercise.

One of the biggest projects was a $10,000, 21-basket disc golf course that is free to the public.

The course seemed a perfect complement for the 110-acre MonteBellaPark.

Runners seeking more variety in their workouts now have that option at the BrownsvilleSportsPark, which received a $28,000 equipment gym in late July.

The gym can be used for low-impact workouts and cardio.

Sports director Ray Arellano said the gym was part of a series of planned upgrades for the sports park. Future improvements will include an extension to the bike trail, renovations on the volleyball and basketball courts and reconditioning the stadium turf.

The Belden Connect, an 0.4 mile extension to the Belden Trail, allows cyclists to safely bike from the intersection of Palm Boulevard all the way to the Historic Battlefield Trail, making for a smooth 64-mile ride.

For those who cannot afford a bike, the Rent-a-Bike program allows quick and easy access at six locations throughout the city, including the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Brownsville campus.

The city is part of a joint effort with nine other communities to form the “Active Plan,” which will consist of a few hundred miles of hike-and-bike trails. City Commissioner At-Large “B” Rose Gowen said the plan will turn the LowerRio GrandeValley into an “active-tourist destination.”

In May, Carlos Elizondo was appointed the city’s new fire chief following the retirement of Fire Chief Lenny Perez. Elizondo beat out 38 other candidates who had applied for the job.

The city has also committed more funds to safety, purchasing 52 new police vehicles and more updated equipment for the Brownsville Police Department.

Many police officers protested outside City Hall after Chief of Police Orlando Rodriguez changed their work schedules from a 4/10 week (four days a week with 10-hour shifts) to 8-hour shifts five days a week.

The schedule is revisited yearly, and in 2016, it was determined that it was not working out, Rodriguez said.

In order to be more present in the community, the Brownsville PD needed better service around the clock, Rodriguez said.

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