LUBBOCK, Texas – Lubbock City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to approve the final location and designs for Downtown Civic Park.

The move finalizes the $ 5.89 million “Wind and Water” design at 1301 Broadway, with additional features bringing the total to $ 10.8 million based on fundraising efforts. The plan will demolish the old Lubbock Power & Light building at the corner of Broadway and M Avenue, replacing it with a one-block green space that includes an amphitheater, water feature, food court and walkway.

City leaders have described it as Lubbock’s new “living room” and “civic heart”, a new family gathering place that will be an economic boom for a city center devoid of outdoor common spaces.

“I think it’s important, especially from a local government perspective, that we identify catalytic projects that support downtown investment,” said interim mayor Steve Massengale. “I believe this park is one of them.”

Councilors Sheila Patterson-Harris and Latrelle Joy voted against the plan.

Patterson-Harris raised concerns about the location, preferring to place the park in an area that does not require the demolition of an existing building.

“I have a hard time figuring out how to tear down a building to put a park in … a park with grass,” said Councilor Patterson-Harris.

Councilor Joy feared the project would cost more than advertised after factoring in additional costs such as demolition and stressed that park maintenance costs and private fundraising should be the responsibility of the the central business district (TIF) tax incremental financing board, rather than the city itself.

“We have a fiscal responsibility to the citizens of Lubbock,” said City Councilor Joy. “I am afraid in this proposal that there is nothing written indicating who is going to maintain this park, and it will be a big job.”

The city plans to raise $ 4.89 million of the initial cost of $ 5.89 million, with the goal of opening the new park early next year.