The heat couldn’t keep people away from the Belden Connect & Resaca Restoration Celebration Ride on the morning of Saturday, June 25. Dr. Rose M.Z. Gowen, Commissioner At-Large B, served as master of ceremonies for the event that marked the completion of the extension to the Belden Trail, which runs from Palm Boulevard to Sixth Street.

Gowen introduced several speakers to discuss all the work that went into creating the trail’s extension. These speakers included representatives from the city of Brownsville, the Brownsville Public Utilities (BPUB) Board, Brownsville Community Improvement Corp. (BCIC) and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP (bcWorkshop).

BPUB was recognized for its efforts at the Cemetery Resaca. Dredging was completed there in July 2013. During that time, more than 200 tires were removed from the waterway along with approximately 19,528 cubic yards of sediment. These efforts resulted in a 3.9 million gallon increase in water capacity. Dredging wasn’t the end of work, though. Bank improvements have been done to protect the waters here, including rip-rap, or rocks, placed to prevent erosion; planting of native vegetation to act as a natural filter to keep out trash and debris; and the construction of a stormwater management area to minimize the efforts of urban and stormwater runoff. A $300,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency and a $100,000 grant from BCIC helped pay for the bank improvements.

In addition, representatives from the Texas Parks and Wildlife assisted with the planting of some of the native vegetation.
Once the speeches were complete, it was time to put the Belden Connect to good use. Participants grabbed a bicycle and started pedaling their way through the trail. This path took them along with Cemetery Resaca, where they could observe for themselves all the improvements that have been done. As they neared the end of the resaca, BPUB had representatives there to educate residents about the Resaca Restoration Project and the bank improvements at the Cemetery Resaca.

The Belden Connect and Cemetery Resaca improvements show the priority that the city places in the health and vitality of the community and the creation of additional recreational outlets for the whole family. These include not only the trail extension but the new bird blind at the Cemetery Resaca, made possible by Healthy Communities of Brownsville, United Eco-Skies and Texas Southmost College Architecture Program students.
So, go out, get some exercise and don’t forget to enjoy the native wildlife that can be found at the Cemetery Resaca!

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