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City council authorizes construction of Mission Tennis Center at Birdwell Park

Aiming to meet the interest of tennis players in Mission and Sharyland, the city is officially moving forward on construction for a new tennis center.

The city council authorized a contract for construction of the Mission Tennis Center at Birdwell Park at this week’s regular meeting. The estimated $1.9 million project will include a remodelling of the three existing tennis courts, an addition of 13 new courts, and renovations including resurfacing of the grounds, lighting and fencing.

City of Mission logo“We received and accepted two proposals for this project,” said Parks and Recreation Director Brad Bentsen. “After the evaluation committee comprised of the city engineer, Parks and Recreation director and engineering consultant evaluated all proposals and set criteria outlined in the request for proposals, and found Teni-Trak, Inc. in Mercedes to offer the best value.”

Although the anticipated finish date of the new tennis center has not been set, construction should take about 180 days. Once all the papers are signed, a groundbreaking ceremony will occur and construction will begin.

The city also approved a conditional use permit for the sale and on-site consumption of alcoholic beverages at Whistling Duck, a local pub and kitchen. The item was protested by Sharon Ellison, a Mission resident who lives in the Shary Gardens neighborhood behind Whistling Duck.

Ellison said that the pub plays music she can hear from her home, and the location of Whistling Duck is not appropriate due to its proximity to her residence.

“It’s too loud, there’s no insulation,” Ellison said. “Now they’ve installed a karaoke bar. I’ve called and told them to turn it down, and it’s usually Fridays and Saturdays.”

Ellison said Whistling Duck “disturbed her health and wellbeing,” but none of her neighbors wanted to join her at the meeting because the noise does not directly affect them. She also added that when she has gone directly to the establishment to complain, they have told her to call the police.

“I don’t believe my job is to call the police,” Ellison said. “Their job is to keep their noise inside. The police don’t have to come and tell them to turn it down.”
Ellison also said that delivery trucks going to Whistling Duck are loud and block traffic, the fire lanes are not properly colored and the garbage lids are not closed at night.

“This is a neighborhood,” Ellison said. “I’m the only one who cares to talk about it because I’m behind it and I have to live with it. Everybody else likes to drink or whatever, they don’t care what they hear, they don’t care how a person’s health is related.”

“I wish you would not allow this business to be here,” Ellison added.

Mission Planning Director Jaime Acevedo said that staff and the City Manager recommended the item be denied, because Whistling Duck had not been cleared by the Fire Department.

“There was public opposition during the P & Z [Planning & Zoning] meeting, there were some other concerns addressed at the meeting,” Acevedo said. “There are concerns from the Fire Department that they are pending two inspections: one for the sprinkler system and one for the fire alarm.”

Jaime Morales, one of the owners of Whistling Duck, was present at the meeting to answer any questions the council had about the establishment. He mentioned that the live music is usually Mission native Charlie Garcia, who plays acoustic guitar on speakers, without any other instruments or people.

“As far as the fire, we have it scheduled for Wednesday,” Morales said. “We had some issues trying to get something scheduled quickly enough.”

Morales said that they usually keep the music volume at a level where it cannot be heard outside, and don’t allow customers to have access behind the building.

“We’ve done our best to keep our noise at a level, short of calling the police ourselves, to show that you can’t hear anything,” Morales said. “As far as outside, any deliveries are during the day, during business hours.”

City council approved the conditional use permit as long as the upcoming inspections performed by the fire department are passed.

“This conditional use permit does not shut down or allow the business to continue,” Mayor Pro-Tem Norie Gonzalez Garza said. “It allows the business to sell alcoholic beverages. So even if we were to deny it, the business could still continue.”

Consent agenda items were passed during the meeting, detailing the creation of several new advisory boards for the City of Mission. New advisory boards and committees include an All Inclusive Committee, a Beautification Committee, a Cemetery Board, a Downtown Revitalization Committee, a Millennium Advisory Board, a Raw Water Committee, a Recycling Advisory Board, a Temporary Aggie and Longhorn Band Committee, a Wellness Advisory Board and a Rail Bridge Advisory Committee.

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