by Victor Lopez
WINKLER COUNTY--It may be Winter in West Texas, but plans are under way to give a much needed face-lift to the pools and parks in Winkler County.
"Most of the facilities were put in the early 1950's. A lot of it was out dated," County Commissioner, Randy Neil, said.
Depending on how you look at it, for the over 7,000 people that live in Winkler County, Christmas either came late or will come early.
"The commissioner's court decided that water parks would be better than revamping the pools or putting in another pool just like it. We'll have a water park in Wink and we'll have a water park in Kermit," Neil explained.
According to County Judge Bonnie Leck, the pools in both Wink and Kermit are so old, they were forced to keep them closed last summer, "They're 60 years old and everything has a life. Then there were new federal regulations which we could not meet."
After a commissioners meeting in September, a vote was taken and a decision made to give the people what they want.
"Our young people have to have activities and this will be geared toward families and young people," Leck said.
Even though the project is still in it's early stages, demolition work has already begun at the park in Wink. As far as the water parks are concerned, Commissioner Neil says, time is crucial if they want to make their summer deadline, "It's our goal to give the best quality of life to the citizens of Winkler County with the least amount of impact to the taxpayer."
The renovations will cost between 2 and 3 million dollars. Judge Leck says, they include not only things above ground, but underground too, "Irrigation, which that needed to be redone, anyway, in the parks. This is the opportune time to bring our irrigation systems up to the highest quality."
From start to finish, the project could go up in 2-3 phases and take from 5 to 10 years to complete. Neil thinks the end result will be well worth it, "It's the commissioner's court's hope that once we get these ball parks, the parks in general, updated and more attractive, that folks are considering to move to Kermit, Wink, and Winkler County."