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Padre Balli Park sees low reservations due to ongoing dispute

"We are going to have to work with the family and see if there's any common ground we can find," said Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A new $7.5 million state grant will be partially used to build new campsites at Padre Balli Park. 

There are a total of 74 RV and tent camping areas in the park, and the plan is to double that number. 

"I'm pretty stoked because this has been a long road," said Nueces County Coastal Parks Director Scott Cross. "I tell everybody when it comes to some of these programs, it's a marathon, it's not a sprint. You got to get in there and keep at it."

Cross said that after six years, he's been able to secure a $7.5 million state grant in deep water horizon settlement funds. The grant is designed for restoration and enhancement of Padre Balli park and the I.B. Magee Beach park in Port Aransas. 

Currently, campers are not taking advantage of the Padre Balli RV park, according to Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney. He said the reason why the 54 RV sites only have four campers is because the county is no longer taking reservations to camp in the area for two weeks at a time. 

Chesney added that it's due to ongoing disputes with the Jones family, who donated the park property. Chesney says for years the county has taken two week reservations at the park. He said the Jones family now says that's been a violation of their agreement and have wanted that to be scaled back to four night reservations.

"We are going to have to work with the family and see if there's any common ground we can find," he said. "Because I believe it's park use. But, if they're going to hold firm and we're going to end up in a lawsuit over this. That could cost us hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue."

Chesney told 3NEWS that if the issue can't be ironed out, he will be using money in Port Aransas where there are no land restrictions. 

"First of all, I think what we could certainly do is use that grant money for the Port Aransas RV park which doesn't have the same issues at the Padre Island one does," he said. 

The commissioner is hoping that he can set up a meeting soon with the Jones family. That in an effort to try to settle this matter once and for all.

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