HOLTVILLE â€” In gratitude for his visionary contribution and exceptional service to the Holtville Community, Elwood J. â€œPeteâ€ Mellinger was honored Friday morning by Holtville city officials during the Pete Mellinger Alamo River Trail dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting.
Pete Mellinger served the city of Holtville for over 40 years from his appointment to the Holtville Planning Commission in 1973, as a planning commissioner, a city councilman and he later served as the city treasurer, but he really always seemed to enjoy the planning function most, according to friends and family. Mellinger was also a farmer, a World War II veteran and an educator.
â€œPete Mellinger was a model for public servants,â€ said Jim Predmore, mayor of Holtville. â€œPete was a visionary and was instrumental in the concept, planning and designing of the Alamo River Trail.â€
In September 2015, the Holtville city council passed a resolution renaming the Alamo River Trail to the Pete Mellinger Alamo River Trail.
Members of the Mellinger family, friends, community members and city officials were present during the ceremony and expressed their appreciation.
â€œFor years my dad talked a lot about building a trail here,â€ said Mark Mellinger, Pete Mellingerâ€™s son. â€œWe are very humbled by the fact that the city decided to call this trail the Pete Mellinger Alamo River Trail. This is an honor for my fatherâ€™s legacy for all of the work he did for the city of Holtville. We really do appreciate that.â€
From the numerous projects Mellinger had envisioned, the trail was by far his greatest passion.
â€œThis trail has come a long way in the last few months and the last few years,â€ said Nick Wells, Holtville city manager. â€œI think Pete is looking down at all of us and looking at this trail, and Iâ€™m sure heâ€™s very excited to see the progress that we have made and will be excited to see the progress that we continue to make.â€
To date, it is estimated $2.8 million has been invested in the various phases of the trail.
â€œTo date, we have received over $1.8 million in grant funds, with another $500K still to be repaid for the
most recent outlays,â€ explained Wells. â€œThe differential represents the required matching funds for any of those grants, as well as some design and minor overruns that the city funded over the years.â€
Work has already begun on the next phase of the trail, which will connect Earl Walker Park to the soon-to- -be-constructed Alamo River Wetlands.
â€œToday we received the grant agreement for the Wetlands project,â€ said Wells. â€œThe next phase, which will extend the trail to the soon-to-be-constructed wetlands, will be 1.1 miles and is currently estimated to cost $1.3 million. Obviously, we will see what funding is available as we try to move in that direction.â€
Those who attended the ceremony had the opportunity to tour the one mile trail aboard a golf cart.
The Alamo River Trail was established in Holtville planning documents since the 1970s, and formally when the city adopted its 1991 general plan. This recreational trail’s concept was largely driven forward by the will of Pete Mellinger. Through his various capacities in the public service of Holtville and as an active member of the community, Pete worked on the shepherding and creation of this trail from 1973 through 2013 when the trail was finally authorized for bid and construction.
At the time of his passing on July 31, 2015, Pete was 92 years old, but was still serving as the Holtville city treasurer. He decided to retire from public life, but missed it too much and returned to his chair on the front of city council meetings after only a few months away.
In 2013, Pete Mellinger was the first public planning official of Imperial County to receive a statewide Distinguished Leadership Award from the California Chapter of the American Planning Association honoring his contribution to excellence in public planning.[envira-gallery id=”84017″]