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Levee Buyouts Provide Space for Park Expansion

On Monday, April 26, Wharton City Council members approved a $1 per year lease agreement that would expand the non-profit’s facilities to nearby lots 421, 421A and 421B on Colorado Street. 

These properties were acquired by the city through the Wharton Flood Reduction Project, which include the Wharton Levee Project and right-of-way acquisition and relocation process for property owners. 

The buildings on those properties were set to be demolished for the transportation of construction and levee control equipment.

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Hesed House Executive Director Stephanie Konvicka requested the homes to remain, saying, “We can help maintain historical integrity in the neighborhood and expand services to the community.”

During Konvicka’s presentation to council, she expressed the community’s need for services that would increase individual resources, knowledge, skills and confidence to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

The Dinosaur Park Expansion Project will help Hesed House increase and expand its capacity to provide essential mental health and wellness services, as well as becoming a welcoming community gathering place for all members of Wharton,” Konvicka said. 


“With the addition of 3 additional houses, Hesed House, can have designated space for counseling services, providing a secure and confidential environment for clients as well as more space to have multiple classes, programming and activities happening at the same time.”

The Design

Wharton Economic Development Corporation hired Insite Architecture to create a conceptual plan on behalf of Hesed House. 

Presented plans for the park include a grand lawn, food truck spaces, amphitheatre lawn, as well as public restrooms, meeting spaces and adventure trails. 

The plans are broken down into phases, which would allow Konvicka time to raise the resources to move the project along. 

The Cost

By leasing these properties, the city would deem the non-profit responsible for any costs of improvements and additions. 

“This Public/Private Partnership with Hesed House of Wharton allows many needed services to be provided to citizens that the City of Wharton would otherwise not be able to make available,” Wharton City Assistant Manager Paula Favors told The County Gin

The financial target goal for the first phase of the project was set at $350,000. 

Becoming Reality

Only weeks after council’s approval, Konvicka announced construction on the first phase is set to begin.

“Hesed House has secured $15,000 to begin work on Phase 1A (421 Colorado St. structure),” Konvicka said. “A grant application for $50,000 is currently in review with LCRA. We plan to apply for additional funding from AARP, as well as a variety of other funding sources as part of an intensive fundraising campaign.”

“We are beyond excited and humbled with gratitude to announce that we will be able to begin work on the first phase of The Park Project very soon, thanks to an incredibly generous donation from the Barbara and Walter Young Memorial Fund,” she said. 

She continued, “We are in awe of the ways our community is embracing this project and what it represents for Wharton… We are ready to roll up our sleeves and make it happen.”

Construction is set to begin on the first phase; however, unfunded phases within the conceptual plan remain. Hesed House continues to ask the community for support. 

You can support the project by visiting the organization’s website

Jessica Hartmanhttps://www.thecountygin.com
Jessica Hartman is the publisher of The County Gin and a realistic dreamer with creative expression. She can be reached at jessica@thecountygin.com or (979) 533-0122, but careful — she's a talker.

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