Tuesday, January 13, 2009

No More Hope: DHS issues notice to proceed with border fence at park

Brownsville Herald
January 13, 2009

It looks like hope has run out for Hope Park.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a notice to proceed with the construction of the border fence that includes Hope Park near the downtown area.

Local officials were notified Tuesday that a notice to proceed with the border fence project had been issued.

The fence will run from an extension of Palm Boulevard to the Fort Brown Memorial Golf Course, which is off River Levee Drive, and will be in the areas of Hope Park near downtown Brownsville and the Gateway International Bridge, the notice reads.

Cameron County Judge Carlos H. Cascos said he didn't believe the land involved was county owned. He has often said that the DHS was going to move forward with the fence in the face of public opposition. Although the county had offered an alternative to the fence's construction plan, the DHS rejected its levee-fence proposal.

Brownsville Mayor Pat M. Ahumada Jr. could not be reached for comment.

Although no actual construction date has been scheduled, the cleaning of the area where the fence will be built is expected to begin soon, the notice reads.

No other information was immediately available.

Lloyd Easterling, spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, could not be reached for comment.

The DHS news comes one day after Brownsville city officials agreed to join an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, challenging DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff's waiver of state and local laws in order to build a fence along the border.

The notice is similar to one released two weeks ago in which county officials were notified that site preparations were to begin in eight areas of the county.

These areas include Nemo Road and Weaver's Mountain near Harlingen; west and east Los Indios; La Paloma; Ho chi Minh-Estero, also near Harlingen; and the Riverbend Resort Water Tower and the Public Utilities Board fence line in Brownsville.

Last week, huge dump trucks could be seen traveling to and from the river levee near the Riverbend Resort Water Tower on Highway 281, where 1.6 miles of the fencing will be constructed.


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