EDINBURG – The Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District dedicated a new sports complex on Feb. 22 in honor of Janet Ogden Vackar, a business woman and philanthropist.
“This is the greatest honor I have ever been presented besides our daughter being born,” Vackar said. “To be alive and enjoy this and know that kids one day will say, ‘Who was that? Well, it wasn’t just the Dale Gas Lady. She really cared.’”
Vackar, who is best known across the Rio Grande Valley as the “Dale Gas Lady,” is also a powerful and passionate advocate for children. Over the years, she has dedicated her time to causes that support emotional, physical and educational development in children.
“We’re very excited for the benefits this park provides for the people of Edinburg,” Vackar said. “I thank the school district, the city and the community for considering me for this high honor.”
Hundreds of students, parents, administrators and community leaders attended the grand opening for the Janet Ogden Vackar Sports Complex, located between Eisenhower Elementary School and Memorial Middle School at 3405 N. Doolittle Road in northeast Edinburg.
“We are excited that as a school district and with the city we were able to work together to put this park together for the students that live on this side of the community,” ECISD Superintendent Dr. René Gutiérrez said. “Janet Vackar is a pillar in our community. She is an excellent role model, so naming this park after her was the right thing to do.”
The 21-acre sport complex will house a walking/running trail, a baseball field, a practice football field, two softball fields, three soccer fields, three basketball courts, four tennis courts and a playscape area with a swing for children with disabilities.
“We are finally able to kick off what has been planned for the previous two years through the school district and through the city,” ECISD School Board President Robert Peña, Jr. said. “The community now has a place where they can gather and have family time and be able to enjoy themselves through sports, through entertainment, amongst themselves and with friends.”
Some of the other features of the park, include several small pavilions with barbeque pits, picnic tables and water stations for bottled water.
“This park provides our children and community a place to enjoy outdoor activities that will help improve their overall health as well as provides a place for families to come together and build memories,” Vackar said. “This park will provide our youth with a safe place to play in the outdoors and interact with others.”