What was once small tract of land with a few basic recreational amenities is now a 15-acre redevelopment that includes a four-acre Town Lake. Crews used a water holding pond at the city's former water treatment facility to construct the new lake.
“We did all the required dredging to transform the little pond into a recreational lake that is 15 feet at its deepest point,” says Sally Gavlik, director of the McAllen Parks & Recreation Department. “In these days of more and more people opting to remain close to home for stay-cations, Town Lake at Firemen's Park gives them a valid option for a different kind of local vacation.”
Let the Fun Begin
Town Lake is situated right in the middle of McAllen, off Business Highway 83 between First and Second streets. Swimming is prohibited due to park irrigation regulations, but a beach has been constructed to launch canoes, kayaks and paddle boats. A fishing pier is also in place.
“We transferred fish to the lake from nearby Boeye Reservoir, which has provided us with good stocks of bass, perch and catfish,” Gavlik says. “Town Lake currently only has a catch-and-release program, meaning you can catch fish but must release them back into the water. At some point in the future when the fish population increases, we might schedule times when people can take the fish home, but for now it is strictly catch and release.”
Take a Hike
Walking and jogging are also good recreational options around the water's perimeter.
“Town Lake actually ties into the often-used Second Street Trail. People can come off the trail, walk or jog along the lake and then get back onto the trail,” Gavlik says. “The scenery includes wildflowers in a freshly seeded meadow, while other park amenities are horseshoe pits, two playgrounds and free picnic sites at the north end of Firemen's Park at First Street.”
There is also a covered pavilion area with sand volleyball courts, a small concession building and three camping sites. The campsites can be used during the day by anyone, but only overnight by organized groups such as the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Group reservations must be made through the McAllen Parks & Recreation Department.
“Another park attraction is the former water treatment building, which has been transformed into a rental facility,” Gavlik says. “It is now called The Old Pump House, complete with new windows, air conditioning, uplighting, tiling and carpeted floors. Groups of 75 to 100 people can rent the facility for meetings, small receptions or small social events. The Old Pump House adds to the overall splendor of today's Firemen's Park.”
Read more about other parks in McAllen.