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Four new members of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation are now bringing their vision and considerable skills to one of the most influential public bodies in deep South Texas, Mayor Richard H. García has announced. García also serves as President of the five-member governing board for the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm for the Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Under the bylaws of the EEDC, the Mayor is always President of the EEDC Board of Directors, while the four other members of that leadership group are appointed by the mayor and city council. Rolando “Ronnie” Guerra, Sr., Broker/Dealer with Voya Financial Advisors, Mark Iglesias, Environmental Manager at S&B Infrastructure, Ltd., and Harvey Rodríguez, South Texas Operations Manager with CAS Companies, LP, were selected by the mayor and city council on Thursday, May 21. On Tuesday, June 2, Richard W. Ruppert, owner of Santa Cruz Land Sales, became the fourth new appointee to the EEDC Board of Directors, following the required approval of the mayor and city council, and setting into motion the most recent team of EEDC board members to their respective two-year terms. “I congratulate these outstanding community leaders who have agreed to serve our city as Edinburg continues this incredible journey of landmark advances and proven progress,” said García. “But I also want to thank our immediate past board members, whose legacies will feature helping make Edinburg one of the best cities in Texas in which to live, work, and play.” Business leader Fred Palacios, Dr. Havidan Rodríguez, the President Ad Interim for The University of Texas-Pan American, prominent attorney Felipe García, and Steven Cruz, II, Director of Operations for Precinct 4 County Commissioner Joseph Palacios, are coming off very successful terms on the EEDC Board of Directors, the mayor noted. “From our legislative efforts that have helped result in the completed and ongoing construction of the $42.7 million Performing Arts Complex, the $54 million Medical Education Building, and the $70 million Science Building at the University of Texas-Pan American to the upcoming construction of the $68 million Bert Ogden Arena – and many other very important achievements – Fred Palacios, Havidán Rodríguez, Felipe García, and Steven Cruz, II, under the leadership of the Edinburg City Council, have made a tremendous positive impact on our hometown,” the mayor said. “Now come Rolando “Ronnie” Guerra, Sr., Mark Iglesias, Harvey Rodríguez, and Richard Richard W. Ruppert, who surely will add their distinguished names as the latest architects of Edinburg’s great and immediate future,” García predicted with pride and confidence. “They will bring honor to themselves and their families through this public service, and that is why they were chosen to serve our community.”

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As new EEDC board members – Rolando “Ronnie” Guerra, Sr., Mark Iglesias, Harvey Rodríguez, and Richard W. Ruppert– begin their latest public service, Edinburg is primed for more successes, says Mayor Richard García

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Four new members of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation are now bringing their vision and considerable skills to one of the most influential public bodies in deep South Texas, Mayor Richard H. García has announced.

García also serves as President of the five-member governing board for the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm for the Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Under the bylaws of the EEDC, the Mayor is always President of the EEDC Board of Directors, while the four other members of that leadership group are appointed by the mayor and city council.

Rolando “Ronnie” Guerra, Sr., Broker/Dealer with Voya Financial Advisors, Mark Iglesias, Environmental Manager at S&B Infrastructure, Ltd., and Harvey Rodríguez, South Texas Operations Manager with CAS Companies, LP, were selected by the mayor and city council on Thursday, May 21.

On Tuesday, June 2, Richard W. Ruppert, owner of Santa Cruz Land Sales, became the fourth new appointee to the EEDC Board of Directors, following the required approval of the mayor and city council, setting into motion the most recent team of EEDC board members to their respective two-year terms.

“I congratulate these outstanding community leaders who have agreed to serve our city as Edinburg continues this incredible journey of landmark advances and proven progress,” said García. “But I also want to thank our immediate past board members, whose legacies will feature helping make Edinburg one of the best cities in Texas in which to live, work, and play.”

Business leader Fred Palacios, Dr. Havidan Rodríguez, the President Ad Interim for The University of Texas-Pan American, prominent attorney Felipe García, and Steven Cruz, II, Director of Operations for Precinct 4 County Commissioner Joseph Palacios, are coming off very successful terms on the EEDC Board of Directors, the mayor noted.

“From our legislative efforts that have helped result in the completed and ongoing construction of the $42.7 million Performing Arts Complex, the $54 million Medical Education Building, and the $70 million Science Building at the University of Texas-Pan American to the upcoming construction of the $68 million Bert Ogden Arena – and many other very important achievements – Fred Palacios, Havidán Rodríguez, Felipe García, and Steven Cruz, II, under the leadership of the Edinburg City Council, have made a tremendous positive impact on our hometown,” the mayor said.

“Now come Rolando “Ronnie” Guerra, Sr., Mark Iglesias, Harvey Rodríguez, and Richard W. Ruppert, who surely will add their distinguished names as the latest architects of Edinburg’s great and immediate future,” García predicted with pride and confidence. “They will bring honor to themselves and their families through this public service, and that is why they were chosen to serve our community.”

In addition to sharing credit with the city council and EEDC Board of Directors, the mayor praised City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., and EEDC Executive Director Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (no relation to the mayor), and their professional staffs, the mayor said he wanted to “shed light on who really deserves the credit for all these wonderful things happening in our community: our administrators and employees from top to bottom.”

García said he, the city council and the EEDC Board of Directors have focused on providing the vision and leadership, along with a positive working environment, thus allowing “our public administrators accepting the challenge and embracing the opportunity” – without raising city taxes.

“Thanks to the brainstorming efforts of our administration, our council, and amazingly talented investors willing to take a risk in our city’s promise, we have not only come of age, we are now racing to our visionary goal of become the finest of destination cities, as well as being a preferred residential community,” the mayor said.

A municipal government that is well-run also encourages existing businesses to remain and expand, and helps recruit new businesses, he continued.

“So, more businesses equal more people and that equals more money,” García reflected. “The Standard & Poor’s Rating Services and Fitch Ratings, Inc. March 2015 reports confirm that Edinburg’s city government is financially sound and thriving, with a 34 percent reserve fund balance of operating expenditures, well above the required 25 percent. Both of these global credit agencies predict our economy will remain strong with the city’s management practices.”

The city’s economic expansion is also being fueled by population increases as more people decide to move into or remain in the city, the mayor explained.

“For us in Edinburg, the last year-and-a-half has been about growth. Our city has grown by 8.5 percent in population since the last Census. That’s the largest growth rate in the entire South Texas region, including San Antonio, Corpus Christi, and Laredo,” García said.

Among the big news soon to be announced, the mayor said, are:

• The La Sienna Commercial Development, a 200-acre fully-developed property (in north Edinburg) that will include shopping, dining, and residential development designed as a destination style mix-use complex, plus an additional 300 acres of fully-developed land zoned with utilities for residential purposes;

• The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley will be adding 200,000-square-feet that will include restaurants, apparel shops, and entertainment. That expansion is part of the goal of the open air center to reach one million square-feet in size;

• Construction of a Marriott Towneplace Suites is about to begin just adjacent to the Hidalgo County Appraisal District on Trenton Road. This 100+ room extended hotel will service the medical community, as well as, the courthouse and university. This will be a first-of-its kind design for Marriott customers with new bedroom and kitchen design and all amenities to please the most discerning traveler;

• The Holiday Inn Express opened last year, and is already at capacity, with several other hotels in the planning stages. A full service hotel with 120 rooms is also scheduled to be built across the street from the UT-RGV campus in Edinburg. This facility, whose ownership has not yet been publicly revealed, will include a restaurant and bar, conference room and meeting space;

• The United Soccer League in Tampa, Florida is bringing a team to Edinburg, which will play on a 40-acre site that will be home to an 8,500-seat, multi-purpose development for sports, fairgrounds for multiple events such as outdoor concerts, shows, regional fairs, and charity events;

• Working with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, the City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation secured a $2.7 million grant to build a multi-use transit facility, which will be the first of its kind in Edinburg, between Edinburg City Hall and UT-Pan American; and

• Across the transit facility, construction is set to begin soon on a high-end apartment complex that will meet the needs of students and staff at UT-Pan American and the School of Medicine, which will be renamed The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley in late August. This complex will include 61 units, 243 beds, with more than 93,000 square feet of commercial area for restaurants and/of coffee shops.

“This is a busy and exciting time to be in Edinburg,” the mayor proclaimed. “We have a lot happening, and I only mentioned some of the major projects. We have a couple more announcements that I am bursting to tell about, but they will have to wait. I can’t steal the owners’ thunder.”

Seeing growth throughout the city uplifts the spirit of any community, but keeping a positive attitude is just as important because it leads to achievements, such as the construction of the UT-Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine and the Bert Ogden Arena, which are so rare for smaller cities such as Edinburg, which have less than 100,000 residents.

The mayor, who served the nation in the U.S. Army, dismissed naysayers in general, saying living in the United States was reason alone to be upbeat about the future.

“We are still the planet’s undisputed superpower. We are, by all definitions, the wealthiest nation on Earth,” García illustrated. “Yet , America is angry at Washington, angry at the press, angry at immigration, angry at people who are well-off, angry at people who are poor. The question is, ‘Why?’”

He blamed “politicians who flourish sowing discontent” and some in “the press, television and radio who also have a big financial stake in keeping the country boiling mad. Good news, as you well know, does not sell papers or keep millions glued to radios and TV screens.”

Rather than remain demoralized by negative people and discouraging events, he called on people to appreciate the blessings of life.

“So, ladies and gentlemen, when we find ourselves surrounded by shouting, red-in-the-face, stomping mad politicians, radio commentators, and newspaper columnists telling you, telling me, I never had it so bad, when I hear all that,” he counseled, “I’ve learned to just smile. I stroll away, and as I do, I bend down to smell a flower.”

García, an attorney and former judge who has helped recruit hundreds of millions of dollars in economic development projects to his hometown with the good news that is Edinburg, offered personal words of advice for the community, reminding them that triumphs are not based solely on material wealth or financial gains.

“My success as a person depends not on what happens at the Courthouse, or at City Hall, or at the White House, but on what has happened inside my house,” the mayor said, referring to his family, which includes his wife and Edinburg’s First Lady, Myra C. García, four children, one son-in-law, and two grandsons. “As important as my obligations may seem as a lawyer or community leader, I am human, first, and those human connections with my spouse, my children, my friends are the most important investments I have ever made.”

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The Edinburg Economic Development Corporation is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and the Edinburg City Council. It’s five-member governing board, which is appointed by the Edinburg City Council, includes Mayor Richard García as President, Mark Iglesias as Vice President, Harvey Rodríguez as Treasurer, Rolando “Ronnie” Guerra, Sr. as Secretary, and Richard W. Ruppert, Member. For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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