he Isla Blanca Park amphitheater isn’t finished, but the popular boat ramp with extra parking adjacent to the construction site is open and ready for holiday launches.

The boat ramp parking area was brought in a week ahead of initial projections and is part of the $6.5 million overhaul of Isla Blanca that adds the amphitheater and a multi-purpose building.

“We did an overlay on the boat ramp parking area and also on the areas where we have RV sites, the nine partial-hookup RV sites,” Joe E. Vega, county parks director, said yesterday. “We re-striped everything and we maximized the parking area for whenever we have events.

“We have 28 spaces for trucks with boat trailers,” he added. “For single vehicles, at the boat ramp area, there are going to be 22 single vehicles spaces and that’s an increase in that area.”

Isla Blanca Park, with its mile-long beach, fishing jetty, pavilions and more than 600 RV sites, attracts more than a million visitors a year. Construction is continuing in the area and Vega urges those using the boat ramp and parking lot to exercise caution.

“People are not allowed to go inside the fencing area, it’s fenced and it’s secured,” Vega said. “We just ask people to be very careful and to take safety precautions when they’re going into the area where the construction is continuing.”

Vega said the additional nine RV spots will be partial hookups and will be ready by June and July.

The 4,000-seat amphitheater and multi-purpose building will be located just to the east of the current boat launching site, with the amphitheater right on the water overlooking Brazos Santiago Pass.

Officials have said the multi-purpose building will be available for special events including weddings, meetings and conferences, and the amphitheater would host concerts and other events, and also will be used to view SpaceX space launches from Boca Chica Beach.

Funding for the Isla Blanca renovations was raised via the hotel-motel venue tax, officials have said.

Isla Blanca Park facts

– Located on South Padre Island’s southern tip

– More than a mile of sandy beach

– Two beachfront pavilions

– Food and rental concessions

– Walking trail and shaded picnic areas

– Daily vehicle entrance fee is $10

By RICK KELLEY Staff Writer