Three years in the making, a beautification project built by the hands of a dozen Doña Ana County youths will celebrate its third phase of completion Friday, May 10, when the Vado Park and Trail officially opens to the public.
A grand opening event is scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday at the Vado Park and Trail on Holguin Road, near Vado Elementary. The event is open to the public.
The project, a collaborative effort between Doña Ana County, Groundwork Doña Ana, Elephant Butte Irrigation District (EBID), the Vado community and local businesses, received $237,500 in funding for the walking trail from Doña Ana County with a right-of-way granted by EBID. Groundwork Doña Ana and the National Park Service also donated $25,000 in funding. Additional support came from Pic Quik convenience stores and Wells-Fargo.
The Vado Park and Trail was the first project of Groundwork Doña Ana, which tasked a group of community volunteers with the first phase of the project in 2010. They built four shade canopies and five benches around an abandoned irrigation canal. The following year, the team finished Phase II with the addition of a 2,100 linear foot gravel walking trail.
The third phase, sponsored by an in-kind donation from CEMEX, upgraded the gravel walking trail with an asphalt walking path/trail.
A dozen local youths, between 15 and 19 years of age, were hired to complete the project, receiving valuable work-related life skills and hands-on training in trail building and simple construction.
Area residents said they were excited about the new outdoor recreation opportunity.
“It’s a good size,” said Yessenia Juarez, who lives in Vado. “I usually go running or walking at least five times a week on the new trail. Once people find out the trail is open, more people will come out and use it.”