Downtown Victoria’s most iconic gathering place is getting a facelift in time for the bicentennial celebration next year!
The City of Victoria’s downtown master plan noted the impact that De Leon Plaza has made on the countless residents who’ve visited to attend a festival, watch a performance or rest beneath the shade of the plaza’s stately oak trees.
Residents who provided input on the master plan agreed that De Leon Plaza is one of downtown’s greatest assets, and expressed strong support for updating the plaza.
The City Council awarded the contract for the De Leon Plaza Expansion Project to Lauger Companies during the Council’s June 20 meeting. Construction began in July 2023 and will be finished by March 2024, just in time for the City's bicentennial date of April 13, 2024.
The project will include:
- Sidewalk/ADA improvements, including sloping of the lawn to meet the new pavement
- Drainage improvements
- A performance pavilion
- Restroom and storage facility
- General amenity improvements such as shaded seating and more trash cans
- Improvements to the area in front of the Six Flags monument, where the new statue of Victoria’s founding couple, Martín de León and Patricia de la Garza, will be located
Part of the Master Plan
The master plan recommends expanding De Leon Plaza and implementing a permanent performance space to increase the potential of this area and expand the types of programming that will be offered year-round. The plan lists the expansion as one of its “10 Highest Impact Projects” that will help to spur downtown development.
The need for public restrooms downtown was another common theme during the development of the master plan. The inclusion of restrooms in the plaza expansion will help to meet this need.
How it's funded
Most of the funding for the project comes from the federal American Rescue Plan Act and from the Victoria Sales Tax Development Corporation, which allocates Type 4B sales tax revenue for economic and community development.
The City Council expressed an intent to use ARPA funding for transformational projects that will provide long-term economic and quality-of-life benefits.
Also, the Marsha Shanklin Foundation has donated $300,000 toward the installation of a water feature at the plaza. The inclusion of the water feature is being postponed to give staff time to explore options.
Good news for parking
To increase the number of parking spaces available for special events, the Victoria Main Street Program is actively pursuing joint-use parking agreements with property owners near the plaza and in other locations downtown.
Under a joint-use parking agreement, a property owner enters into an operating agreement to make spaces available to the public at certain times of day. Joint-use parking is more cost-effective than adding new lots or garages, and it takes advantage of strategic existing locations.