Construction at Friendship Park underway

For more than 50 years, generations of friends and families have gathered at the historic site in Border Field State Park


Friendship Park at Border Field State Park has served as a binational meeting point for friends and families for more than half a century, but now, according to officials at Customs and Border Protection, the fence at the park is deteriorating.

That decision has led to the dismantling of the fence, but critics are unhappy with that development.

“Friendship Park is a significant site on the U.S.-Mexico border — the most important historic site on the U.S.-Mexico border,” said John Fanestil of Friends of Friendship Park Coalition.

For more than 50 years, generations of friends and families have gathered at this historical site.

“The monument at the center of Friendship Park was the original boundary marker put in place between the United States and Mexico at the end of the U.S. Mexico war,” Fanestil said.

For people like Fanestil, the state park represents a cultural treasure.

“It’s a socially significant place because it’s a place where, especially, families and friends who aren’t able to meet otherwise are able to be reunited with their loved ones,” Fanestil said.

The existing fence had two 18-foot barriers, but a new project is underway to replace those.

“They call it a replacement project, but, sadly, they’re not just replacing infrastructure down there, they’re building new 30-foot walls,” Fanestil said.

In May, there was a protest opposing the construction of the fence.

Also earlier this year, the CBP and the Border Patrol said they remain committed to allowing visitors on the U.S. side of the border access to Friendship Park. They also said the construction will provide necessary safety and security improvements to the border infrastructure in the area.

But, Fanestil said, the two new fences eliminate the border view and sense of public space.

“We’ll continue to advocate for improved public access," Fanestil said. "The long vision is that someday, there should be a truly binational park or a transnational park at this location, just like there are in the U.S. Canada border."

NBC 7 reached out to CBP for comment but was told it was unavailable. Earlier this year, it said, once construction is complete, access to the park will be coordinated with U.S. Border Patrol through a gate in the secondary barrier during designated periods of time.

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