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Currently a retention basin for the Correll Estates subdivision in Heber, the Heber Public Utility District was awarded $1.6 million in state park grant funding to build a park there. | GOOGLE IMAGE

Heber Public Utility District Celebrates $1.6M State Park Award

HEBER — The Heber Public Utility District is celebrating the announcement this week that $1.6 million in Proposition 68 state park grant funding is coming this community to establish a new park in the Correll Estates subdivision in Heber.

“This is amazing news for the community of Heber,” district board President Pompeyo Tabarez said in a statement. “The new park will be enjoyed by children and families for generations to come.”

The announcement first came late Wednesday, Dec. 8, through Assembly member Eduardo Garcia, D-Coachella, when the state released its list of all competitive park grant awards funded this cycle. Garcia’s 56th Assembly District received $44.2 million, including a total of $14.3 million between Heber, El Centro and Calipatria.

Correll Park will be located at 1176 Heber Ave. in Heber, just south of the intersection of Correll Road and Heber Avenue, which is currently a fenced off retention basin for the subdivision. The new park will be in a well-established residential neighborhood and will be a popular basketball play area and safe space for families to enjoy, according to the Heber Public Utility District, which serves almost a city council for the unincorporated community of Imperial County.

“When homes in the Correll Estates were built 20 years ago, residents were promised a new park by the developer. That never happened. I’m beyond excited that HPUD will finally be able to deliver this long-time goal and that soon children and families in Heber will have another amazing park space to enjoy,” Heber district Director Tony Sandoval stated.

The $1.6 million grant will convert the existing retention basin into a vegetated bioretention basin, construct a 15,000-square-foot elevated play area with shaded picnic space, playground equipment and amenities, construct a basketball play area, and install a new 5-foot-wide walking trail around the perimeter of the park.

All of the new areas will include appropriate solar lighting so that they can be used in the evening hours. The project should be completed within 30 months and will be added to the suite of Heber’s amazing parks and community spaces in the summer of 2024, according to the district.

A map of the Correll Estates subdivision area of Heber shows the location of a proposed new park (in green) that will be built using $1.6 million in state funding awarded to the Heber Public Utility District on Wednesday, Dec. 8. | GOOGLE MAP

The work will also fix a long-standing issue with drainage in the retention basin, said Laura Fischer, general manager of the district.

The Statewide Parks Program Grant is a competitive grant process funded by the California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate, Coastal Protection and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018 (Proposition 68). The State Parks Department received 468 applications requesting $2.42 billion for the available $548.3 million in this round. The State Parks Department awarded 112 projects.

“We are thrilled that Heber has been awarded $1.6 million in Proposition 68 funds to create a new park for residents to enjoy. Investments in parks and safe outdoor spaces have the power to transform and uplift our communities. We congratulate the Heber Public Utility District for their persistence and success,” stated Assembly member Garcia, joint author of Proposition 68 and chair of the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife.

“We have dedicated years collaborating with them and other regional leaders to ensure our region can better compete for state park dollars. Our work with Proposition 68 created the largest California funding opportunity to prioritize park resources for underserved areas like ours. We can now see those results delivered throughout our district,” Garcia added.

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