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Thomas Manor Park Pond project unites EPWater, City of El Paso, YISD

El Paso Water’s Thomas Manor Park Pond and Pump Station project is taking collaboration to a whole new level. EPWater, the City of El Paso Parks and Recreation and the Ysleta Independent School District celebrated their extraordinary partnership during the project’s groundbreaking ceremony March 8.

Though City Council Rep. Henry Rivera and previous City Council representatives for District 7 have long advocated for improvements to the Thomas Manor Park, none of the proposals brought forward seemed workable. That changed when City Parks and Recreation Director Tracy Novak met with neighborhood association president Juan Mendoza to discuss stagnant water concerns at the existing stormwater pond near the park. Novak and his department colleagues saw new possibilities and turned to El Paso Water.

Alan Shubert, EPWater’s Vice President of Operations and Technical Services, met with Novak, and both saw the makings of a grand partnership opportunity for the Lower Valley park, especially in light of the rebuilding of Thomas Manor Elementary next door. Shubert and Novak reached out to Patrick O’Neill, YISD Associate Superintendent of Operations.

A partnership is born
“What you have here now is really a truly unique situation,” Novak said March 8. “You have three agencies: the City of El Paso, El Paso Water and YISD, each with their own distinct missions, working together to solve a community problem.”

The seed was planted and the idea for the $7.1 million Thomas Manor Park Pond and Pump Station took root. The pond, which currently holds 3 million gallons of water, will eventually hold over 14 million, and reduce flood risk to neighboring streets and homes near Knights Drive, EPWater President and CEO John Balliew said.

“This project is a representation of the priority that El Paso Water assigns to flood protection,” Balliew said. “EPWater’s partnership with Parks and Rec and YISD is a sign of our commitment to developing projects like this for the community.”

Coming soon
Project plans call for the existing pond to be shifted to a new location on the site, and the pump station and force main will be rehabilitated. The community and Thomas Manor Elementary students will benefit from an improved play area, new walking trails, green fields and a new landscape.

“We will continue to seek opportunities with the City of El Paso, El Paso Water and the Parks and Recreation Department specifically to improve access and opportunity to all students in El Paso,” YISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said. “This is a step in the right direction, and we are honored and humbled to have been included.”

The work is due to be completed in winter 2019.

This is a win, win, win situation here for the community,” Novak said. “I am just proud to be part of the team.”