Pharr Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez speaks during the ceremony. (Courtesy photo)

The city of Pharr held a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday morning at the future site of its new regional detention facility and dog park.

The facility and dog park will be located at 520 W. Saint Anne Drive in Pharr. The city hopes that the facility will help alleviate some flooding in the area.

“We are proud to break ground on the city’s newest project in collaboration with our partners at PSJA Southwest ECHS,” Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said in a news release. “This project will not only help improve our drainage infrastructure in the city but also serve as a recreational area and dog park for our citizens to enjoy.”

The project will cost the city an estimated $4.5 million, and will feature a walking trail for residents to exercise.

“It’s going to be a regional water detention — it’s for stormwater — facility and a dog park,” Michelle Lopez, chief communications officer for the city of Pharr, said. “We’re also going to create a trail for people to go walk and exercise. This project is a 23-acre park. The detention facility is going to be holding about 100 million gallons of stormwater. It’s a pretty big deal.”

The project was done in collaboration with PSJA Southwest Early College High School. According to Lopez, students from the school helped come up with the design in collaboration with the city’s engineering department.

“We should be breaking ground with construction in the fall,” Lopez said. “The trail might be about a mile and a half. That’s not a for-sure thing. They can add or they can reduce, but they say it’s going to be about a mile and a half trail for everybody to enjoy.”

Pharr city officials gathered Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony for the new detention pond and dog walk park on the city’s southwest side. (Courtesy photo)

The area where the facility will be located is in one of several areas identified by the city in its drainage improvement plan. Once the detention facility is operational, the city anticipates that it will prevent stormwater from remaining stagnant for days at a time. They expect water to be cleared in a matter of hours as opposed to days.

“In that part of town — that’s around Las Milpas (Road) — it gets pretty bad as far as when continuous rain falls on us,” Lopez said. “It gets pretty bad, so they’re just going to mitigate that and hopefully alleviate some of that burden on people.”

The city plans to solicit bids for a construction company in the near future. They hope to have the facility completed by the fall of 2022.