Environmental advocates in Edinburg are hopeful that a recent biking event in the city was also a chance to visualize the creation of a new hike and bike trail through the center of a long proposed Central Park.

The recent McCANALenburg Challenge biking event was a good opportunity for environmentalists in the city who are looking to raise awareness for the proposed park on land currently used as Ebony Hills Golf Course.

A primary concern by the Edinburg Environmental Advisory Board remains that the Ebony Hills property remain as open green space for future use by the community following its lease expiration on Feb. 1 2013. The park is a project they say has been shelved by city officials.

“That’s only four years away. I believe it’s in our city’s best interest to decide this matter now while it has a few more years left on the lease,” said Mark Peña, Environmental Advisory boardmember and coordinator of Edinburg’s CoolCities climate change initiative.

“After the lease expires, all bets are off and I fear this wonderful green space we have all grown up with in the heart of our city will be lost forever and sold to various developmental interests,” he said.

An overwhelming majority of citizens spoke out in favor of permanent acquisition of Ebony Hills golf course for use as a park or small golf course combination at a City Council meeting held last year.

At that time the Council directed City Manager JJ Rodriguez to organize and convene a committee consisting of representatives from the various city advisory boards and other stakeholders in the community to explore the future and possible permanent acquisition of Ebony Hills. To date the committee has not been convened by the city.

“The City Council needs to take the lead and address this issue now to prevent this from happening and create a positive legacy for Edinburg in the form of a new Edinburg Central Park that will benefit Edinburg for generations to come,” said Mark Peña,

The Environment Advisory Board first recommended the city permanently acquire Ebony Hills for use as a park in a letter addressed to former city manager Wendy Smith-Sturgis in July 2005.

The property’s central location inside the city makes it accessible to many surrounding neighborhoods and guarantees its use and benefit to a significant number of residents, Peña said in the letter.