101 Courthouse Square
Cotulla, TX 78014
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By Marc Robertson

Costing an estimated $14.6 million and including La Salle County’s first indoor swimming pool as well as new ballfields and recreation areas, the long-anticipated expansion of Martinez Park opened on the southeast side of Cotulla Thursday afternoon, July 21 with a dedication to its namesake.

Celebrated for his 40 years in public service, including tenure as La Salle County judge and as head of the Middle Rio Grande Development Council, Leodoro Martinez was the center of attention at Thursday’s ceremonies. Introduced by 81st Judicial District Attorney Rene Pena, guest speakers at the grand opening included County Judge Joel Rodriguez, State Representative Ryan Guillen, county commissioners, site construction contractors, Cotulla Mayor Javier Garcia, and Martinez himself, who acknowledged the work ethic and public service that his parents and grandparents instilled in him from an early age.

Mayor Garcia noted that the new park extension represents a revitalization of the portion of town it occupies and new opportunities for family-oriented activities.

Funded with county money and revenues from a bond sale of three years ago, the project has almost tripled the size of the original Martinez Park, which is jointly owned by the city and the county. The purchase of 50 acres from the Gilbert family of Laredo for development has also allowed for construction of Cotulla’s newest fire station, headquarters of the La Salle Fire & Rescue, a facility that opened earlier this year.

Designed by architect Killis Almond and overseen by project manager Frank Rodnofsky, the facilities built by Summit Construction include the indoor pool and recreation center, a multipurpose pavilion, four softball and baseball fields, a walking trail, picnic areas and parking space. Thursday’s ceremony was held at the entrance to the swimming pool building; food and refreshments were served in the pavilion to live music. The buildings and fields were open to public tours.

Plaques commemorating the occasion and the lengthy project and quantity of work required in reaching park completion were awarded to county commissioners and elected government officials at Thursday’s ceremony. A representative of Senator Judith Zaffirini’s office presented Martinez with a flag that was flown over the State Capitol in Austin.

Also attending with members of the public were representatives of other city and county governments, Encinal Mayor Sylvano Sanchez, justices of the peace, community leaders, Cotulla ISD, members of the La Salle Fire & Rescue and the Cotulla Volunteer Fire Department, the Texas Highway Patrol, Texas Rangers, the US Border Patrol, county constables and the La Salle County Sheriff’s Office.   

“I think what people will take away from this is that La Salle County has finally been able to make a reality of its dream of providing a true family facility,” the county judge said after the event. “Future generations of La Salle County children will look back on their lives with this park being at the center of many activities they were involved in.

“European cities are very accustomed to having park space, recreation facilities and open areas for family activities,” Judge Rodriguez said. “For a long time, it was something that the people of small South Texas communities could only wish for.”

For More Information check our Park page under Community on the Main Menu or click HERE.