Cameron County is making headway with an overhaul of gulfside amenities at Isla Blanca Park on South Padre Island.

Parks Director Joe Vega said Friday that construction crews began demolishing the Sandpiper Pavilion, marking the start of $17 million in renovations that he said will improve accessibility and the overall visitor experience at the park.

“We’re very exited this project has begun,” he said. “(These are) some beautiful pavilions that we’re going to construct out there.”

The Sandpiper and D.J. Lerma pavilions will be reconstructed 200 feet inland from their original sites. They will be outfitted with new dune walkovers, picnic tables, restrooms and other amenities.

The parks department will connect the pavilions with a boardwalk that will have shaded seating and environmentally sensitive LED lights.

The gulfside area of Isla Blanca Parks also will gain an additional 280 parking spaces with more spots that meet ADA accessibility guidelines.

“We are making the necessary improvements to one of the premier parks on the Texas Gulf Coast so that families can continue enjoying Isla Blanca Park for many years to come,” County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. said in a news release. “We ask for your patience as we continue to make enhancements to our Coastal Parks.”

Cameron County is getting help on the construction from two universities. Texas A&M University-Kingsville is leading dune mitigation and preservation by harvesting vegetation that will be later transplanted to new dunes at the park.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will provide management and oversight of construction for the new dune system. They are surveying the areas where existing dunes will be removed and where future dunes will be constructed, Vega said.