Councilmembers raise questions over basketball court

The Laredo city council questioned why a basketball court in west Laredo was built by them years ago on property that is not theirs.
Published: Apr. 21, 2021 at 1:30 AM CDT
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - The Laredo city council questioned why a basketball court in west Laredo was built by them years ago on property that is not theirs.

Costly projects with no paper trail is a recurring situation the city no longer wants any part of.

”How did this occur? Why did it occur? Who authorized it?”

It’s a $70,000 question on the City of Laredo’s mind.

A basketball court right off of Calton Road and next to the Rio Grande built in the 90′s by the city, but sits on private land. It was a decision made by a former council and mayor but seemingly forgotten along the way.

That was until District 7 councilwoman Vanessa Perez was approached by a resident who lives in the area during her campaign about improving the area.

”She said that it was very dark at night, there was no lighting down there, and its also very dangerous because apparently there’s a lot of traffic at night with people and movement and Border Patrol down there.”

The more Perez looked into it, the sooner she realized that is was owned by someone else and was on sale.

”Once I got elected then I really made this one of my priorities. I wanted to look into how we can preserve this park area and how did a basketball court come to be.”

Their search for the answer has not come up with a lot of results.

Monday night, the Laredo city council and mayor talked over the situation with management and the city attorney.

So far, the only clue is a couple of city council meetings from 1992 that mention capital improvement plans.

”Anything more formal than that, where there’s an agreement there’s documentation past that, we have not found that,” said City Manager Robert Eads.

The council members for District 4 and 8 chimed in to note that it seems to be an recurring situation with money being set aside for project but no follow through.

”In regard to the Don Tomas sculpture, from our understanding there was never a contract put in place and yet we’ve expended over $400,000,” said Alyssa Cigarroa.

The sculpture was paid with their district priority funds over five years ago, but nothing has come about.
There’s no agreement, just purchase orders.

The city council made a motion for the internal auditor to look into the basketball and sculpture projects.

The City of Laredo is hoping to get back the $70,000 they spent on the basketball court.

They’ve tried to reach out to the property owner through a letter, but have not heard back.

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