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Visible from a distance for several years and apparently still growing, the Pearsall municipal brush waste disposal area has again drawn the attention of local government with renewed efforts at clean-up.
Originally created on the initiative of City Manager Tim Gump in the late 1990s to serve as a transfer station for bulky waste, the acreage on FM 1581 between the Victor Trevino Sports Complex and the county’s Frio Regional Park beside IH-35 has been filled to near capacity with brush piles as much as twenty feet in height, with no action having been made recently by city government for removal of the flammable waste.
This month, local residents were alerted to the possible presence of snakes in the area of the brush piles.
The public walking trail that circles the sports complex was recently upgraded by the city and has become the closest point to the brush piles that the public may venture. A local resident photographed a snake in the facility’s parking lot on Sunday, May 9.
“This concerns me,” Councilor Davina Rodriguez said during a meeting on May 11. “We are about to open the splash pad, the baseball fields are being used and so is the walking trail.”
The city is set to open its splash pad water features for children at the complex and at Polo Patino Park on Monday, May 31.
Councilors and City Manager Federico Reyes said this month the mountains of brush that have accumulated just feet from the sports complex are to blame for the appearance of snakes.
Local residents are allowed to use the site for disposal of tree branches and other yard clippings. The site is not intended for disposal of household rubbish, construction debris or appliances. City Hall has attempted in the past to hire a brush removal company that may either mulch the debris or transport it from Pearsall entirely.
“It just keeps on growing,” Reyes said of the brush pile. “We went out for bids and only received one.”
Reyes said he was of the opinion that the bid for brush removal was too high.
The city manager has recommended that the council change the scope of the original bid for disposal of the brush at the transfer station. Reyes said he believes changing the timeframe to have the brush removed would make the job more appealing to bidders.
Councilors have suggested hiring a company to burn all the brush or purchasing a mulching machine and selling the mulch.
Former City Manager Charles ‘Tink’ Jackson hired a company in 2018 to mulch three brush piles and announced the city would give away the mulch for free.
No one came for mulch.
“The other problem is, is there are things in those piles that should not be thrown in there, like appliances,” Reyes said.
City staff have placed “be aware of snakes” signs along the northwest side of the complex.
Local residents and city staff have acknowledged that rising daytime temperatures will make the cooler environment and shade of the brush piles attractive to snakes.