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Mission Historical Museum to construct new garden, event area

20130201 MHM Landscape-Renovation-Plan featureMISSION—Mission Historical Museum is scheduled to see renovations begin on its property within the next month. Museum Director Luis D. Contreras II explained the changes are going to be an exciting new addition for the community of Mission.

Last October, the Mission City Council approved $175,000 for the museum project and has since allocated an additional $75,000 for the landscape portion of the project, creating a project fund balance of $250,000.

“Phase one of the project will include demolition, hardscape and a wrought iron fencing around the property,” Contreras said.

The museum is located at the intersection of Doherty Avenue and 9th Street in downtown Mission, and the Museum Annex is located directly behind the main building at the intersection of East Tom Landry Street and Doherty Avenue. The project’s goal is to unite the two properties in a more cohesive visual setting.

Contreras said project will include demolition of the parking lots between the two buildings, the front sidewalk and repaving the road in front of the museum. New parking lot spaces and ramp accesses will be built at the front of the museum.

Phase two of the project will be the landscape portion. The empty space between the two buildings is planned to hold multiple stations that will not only be aesthetically pleasing, but an educational experience Contreras said.

Architects SSP-Design submitted an artist’s rendition of what the finished product will look like. The open area behind the annex will be an open, grassy space and will contain palm trees and shrubbery. This open lot of the property will be used as an event area.

The current museum parking lot and alley will be redesigned to include walkways that connect the annex to the museum. Along the walkways visitors will be able to look at the Chapparal Rock Garden, which will house not only rocks and boulders but will also have a jacal.

A jacal, Contreras said, is an early form of living space that was used by Mexican families who occupied the area. The project will also include a fountain, butterfly garden and a native plant habitat.

“We will also have a citrus grove that will have the Rio Red Grapefruit and the Bitter Orange,” Contreras said. “We want to enhance the quality of life for residents and tourists. We hope to instill pride in our community.”

The museum is housed in the John Shary Building built in 1939, which has a Texas Historical Landmark designation. Construction was cleared with the Texas Historical Commission since all demolition and work will occur 25-30 feet away from the museum.

Contreras added they have received a lot of help from the McAllen-Mission Garden Club (MMGC).

“The club has been long-time members and supporters of the museum,” Contreras said. “We hope to open up the area to the community, so they can learn from the Garden Club. We want this to be a community garden where they can help maintain it…and have a common area.”

Groundbreaking for the project is scheduled for mid- to late February.

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