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Featured, from left: Councilmember David Torres; Councilmember Richard Molina; Mayor Richard García; Elías Longoria, Jr., Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and Richard Hinojosa, Edinburg City Manager. The area leaders were gathered on Thursday, May 11, 2017, for the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Edinburg Transit Terminal. The facility also will serve as the new headquarters for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. The Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, is led by a five-member Board of Directors which features Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Gus García, who is the Executive Director of the Edinburg EDC, are not related.

Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE

The promising future for the community continued moving forward on Thursday, May 11, 2017, with the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Edinburg Transit Terminal, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The 15,000-square-foot, two-story complex, located on a 1.2 acre tract donated by the Edinburg EDC, will serve as a home for Valley Metro, which is the publicly-owned bus service for deep South Texas that is administered and operated by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council. Valley Metro’s increased presence in Edinburg will have far-reaching benefits not just for the city, but throughout the region, according to local and area leaders. One of the many key needs the Edinburg Transit Terminal will fulfill when it opens for business in early 2018 will be to help handle the thousands of vehicles that converge into and near the city’s downtown during the work week.

Artist’s Rendition Courtesy of NEGRETE & KOLAR ARCHITECTS, LLP

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Edinburg EDC reports that $5.4+ million Edinburg Transit Terminal will have far-reaching benefits not just for city, but throughout region

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

The promising future for the community continued moving forward on Thursday, May 11, 2017, with the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Edinburg Transit Terminal, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The 15,000-square-foot, two-story complex, located on a 1.2 acre tract donated by the Edinburg EDC, will serve as a home for Valley Metro, which is the publicly-owned bus service for deep South Texas that is administered and operated by the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council.

The facility also will serve as the new headquarters for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

The Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, is led by a five-member Board of Directors which features Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members.

Mayor Richard García and Gus García, who is the Executive Director of the Edinburg EDC, are not related.

Valley Metro’s increased presence in Edinburg will have far-reaching benefits not just for the city, but throughout the region, according to local and area leaders.

One of the many key needs the Edinburg Transit Terminal will fulfill when it opens for business in early 2018 will be to help handle the thousands of vehicles that converge into and near the city’s downtown during the work week.

Downtown Edinburg features the Hidalgo County Courthouse, with plans now underway by the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court to build a new courthouse, currently estimated to cost around $120 million, next to the existing courthouse.

Within five blocks west of the the current courthouse and planned new courthouse are three other major generators of motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, commerce and business: Edinburg City Hall, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and a dozens of large-, medium-, and small-retail businesses, restaurants and offices along West University Drive.

The amount of acreage owned by UTRGV in Edinburg totals 390.7 acres, including several sites off-campus, such as the Visual Arts and CESS properties. On the main Edinburg campus, which includes the School of Medicine and 52 acres, located at the southeast quadrant of North Sugar Road and West Chapin Street that for future expansion, the university sits on 370 acres within walking distance of the Edinburg Transit Terminal.

“It sets the future in motion by allowing those individuals to use mass transportation so they can save those dollars, get a good paying job, education, and move up,” said Edinburg EDC Executive Director Gus García. “People can have transportation to get here, and then just walk to City Hall; we are going to have stores and shops to promote walkability.”

The Edinburg Transit Terminal’s location at 617 W. University Drive between 6th and 7th streets places it conveniently near institutions, facilities, and businesses which draw thousands of visitors daily during the workweek from throughout deep South Texas.

“We are a center of government (as Hidalgo County seat) and people come from all over the county to do business here. We are a center of education. UTRGV is a commuter university, people come from all over the Valley to go to school at this campus a block away (from the Edinburg Transit Terminal),” said Mayor Richard García. “So, this is very, very important, not only to the City of Edinburg, but to the people of this region. We are thankful that we have a bus station coming back to Edinburg.”

The mayor’s remarks were delivered to numerous local, regional and state leaders in attendance for the late-morning Thursday, May 11, 2017 groundbreaking event, including the following officials: Councilmember Richard Molina; Councilmember David Torres; Elías Longoría, Jr., Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors, Edinburg EDC; Gus García, Executive Director, Edinburg EDC; Ron Garza, Executive Director, Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council; Andrew Cannon, Director, Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization; Tom Logan, Director, Valley Metro; David Negrete, AIA, Partner, Negrete & Kolar Architects, LLP; Andrés Mata, Jr. Associate AIA, Project Manager, Negrete & Kolar Architects, LLP; and Matthew Giannini, Area Director, U.S. Department of Commerce, Austin.

With the city approaching 90,000 population, and Hidalgo County one of the most populous counties in Texas (831,074 as of 2014, according to U.S. Census estimates), the need for Edinburg to become a center of mass transportation “is vital,” the mayor emphasized. “To the people who come to do business, we are an important city. We have become a destination city with all the things being built here, with all the things that are happening in our city.”

More advances are in the works for downtown Edinburg, Mayor García promised.

“We have several huge developers who are looking at building high-rise parking,” the mayor revealed one of the future developments being explored for downtown.

The public investment for the city-owned Edinburg Transit Terminal is more than $5.4 million, mostly from two federal grants, but that figure also includes the value of the site, appraised at $750,000, which was donated by the Edinburg EDC.

Councilmember Richard Molina and Councilmember David Torres, speaking with reporters following the traditional placing of shovels into the dirt to mark the beginning of construction, added their perspectives to the importance of the Edinburg Transit Terminal.

When the city’s strategies for securing outside funding for the Edinburg Transit Terminal were emerging, Molina represented the mayor and his colleagues on the city council on the governing board of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, also known as the Council of Governments.

The LRGVDC is a voluntary association of local governments formed under Texas Law in 1967 as one of Texas’ 24 regional Council of Governments (COG’s) serving Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy County.

In that capacity, Molina helped rally political support from elected leaders from neighboring cities to endorse the request from Edinburg for the needed federal funds from the Federal Transit Administration to pay for the local transit complex.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) provides financial and technical assistance to local public transit systems, including buses, subways, light rail, commuter rail, trolleys and ferries. FTA also oversees safety measures and helps develop next-generation technology research.

“I do want to give credit to the region, because we had to go out and lobby votes on the LRGVDC to make this happen,” Molina said of the organization’s 26 members. “I want to thank many of those individuals for siding with Edinburg to make all this happen, and get the funding to see this project to fruition. If we can’t get our region to support us, this won’t happen.”

Ron Garza, Executive Director, Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, applauded the work of the mayor and city council on the project.

“I just want to thank everybody for the support, for the partnership, and obviously, the mayor for your hard work and leadership,” Garza said. “Councilmember Richard Molina was part of our COG (Council of Governments) executive board when a lot of the early decisions were made, so I want to thank you for your leadership at that point with the COG board.”

Garza added that from his perspective, “so much has been done correctly here, in terms of planning. Many times, we don’t look at things and use the term ‘state-of-the-art’ with public transportation. But this is going to be such a unique facility that it will absolutely be state-of-the-art to house public transportation, which is such a vital resource for citizens, and I appreciate that.”

For his part, Torres, a former longtime Edinburg school board member, pointed out how the Edinburg Transit Terminal will benefit education and the scores of university students who come from outside the city to attend UTRGV and its School of Medicine.

“Public transportation works best when you have a critical mass of people, and by having all these university students as a critical mass of people coming to UTRGV, now, because of the Edinburg Transit Terminal, it will be easy for all students to make trips from UTRGV to other locations, in or outside of our city, and come back to campus, without having to get into a car,” Torres said.

Valley Metro provides a much-needed service to the population of the region, particularly the elderly, disabled, students, veterans, and the economically disadvantaged.

For many UTRGV students, the Edinburg Transit Terminal will be a Godsend to them as well.

“They are just starting out in life. It is very expensive to have a car,” Torres said. “It is going to open up educational opportunities for young people though out the Rio Grande Valley.”

Andrés Mata, Jr. Associate AIA, Project Manager, Negrete & Kolar Architects, LLP, provided the following synopsis of the Edinburg Transit Terminal:

A new building facility and site development to include spaces for the Edinburg EDC Offices, various lease spaces and the LRGVDC Valley Metro Transit Terminal located at the northwest intersection of U.S. Highway 107 (University Drive) and Sixth Street in Edinburg.

The two-story edifice contains approximately 15,000 square feet and sits on a 1.2 acre site; consisting of the Edinburg Transit Terminal with six bus stops, vehicular drop-off circulation, and outdoor gathering plaza; ground floor lease spaces; and second floor Edinburg EDC offices with monumental stair entry and outdoor roof gathering space overlooking the existing McIntyre Promenade.

Situated along University Drive and the McIntyre Promenade equidistant between the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Edinburg City Hall, the new Edinburg Transit Terminal will compliment both facilities, yet retain its own modern and unique aesthetic to become a focal and gathering point for the city.

The fully accessible site will contain continuous brick pavers to connect with the promenade, a public plaza with shade canopies at each bus stop, outdoor bench seating, landscaped areas, lighting with modern signage, and a public art display.

The structure consists of large volumes of earth-tone masonry, low-e glass, and exposed steel to convey a feeling of airy openness befitting a modern transportation hub.

The 1,600 square-foot state-of-the-art Transit Terminal, with comfortable and modern seating for almost 60 passengers, will maintain up-to-date digital signage throughout the facility and at all bus stop canopies.

The site will also contain a total of approximately 4,300 square-feet of ground floor lease spaces – facing both University Drive and the McIntyre Promenade. A 7,600 square-foot second story, including an ‘office bridge’ and outdoor roof terrace will house the Edinburg EDC offices.

The contemporary offices will be accessed via a monumental stair (or elevator) with decorative fountain and articulated lighting. Inside, the clean and modern finishes will provide a progressive environment for business and entertainment while overlooking the promenade through the north facing windows.

The entire facility is protected by a digital fire alarm with sprinkler system and is energy and environmentally conscious with its thermal and moisture protection, waste, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

The innovative Edinburg Transit Terminal will be the principal landmark point to gather, depart, and arrive into the City of Edinburg for generations to come.

Key background about the architectural firm and non-governmental individuals involved with Negrete & Kolar Architects, LLP to design and build the Edinburg Transit Terminal follow:

Project Architect: David Negrete, AIA
Project Manager(s): Bruce W. Menke, Andrés L. Mata, Jr., Associate AIA;
Project Consultants, Structural: Miguel Chanin, PE; Chanin Engineering, LLC
Project Consultants, Mechanical/Plumbing: René Olivares, PE; RO Engineering, LLC Electrical: Jose Antonio Nicanor, PE; Sigma HN Engineers, PLLC
Project Consultants, Civil: Carlos Garza, PE; AEC Engineering, LLC
Project Consultants, Landscape: Jan Giles, PLA; Coleman & Associates; Negrete & Kolar Architects, LLP:

Relevant projects by Negrete and Kollar McAllen include ‘La Central’ Intermodal Transit Terminal, City of Edinburg World Birding Center, City of Edinburg Professional Baseball Stadium, City of Edinburg Police Station and Public Safety Building, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District Central Administration Building & Complex; University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Marialice Shary-Shivers Building Renovation, and UTRGV Performing Arts (Buildings A & B) Complex Renovations.

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Key highlights featuring transcription of remarks made by city and Edinburg EDC leaders at the groundbreaking of the $5.4+ million the Edinburg Transit Terminal. The public investment for the city-owned Edinburg Transit Terminal of more than $5.4 million is mostly from two federal grants, but that figure also includes the value of the site, appraised at $750,000, which was donated by the Edinburg EDC.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Groundbreaking of the Edinburg Transit Terminal

Irma Garza
Director of Public Information
City of Edinburg

I don’t know if you realize this, but they don’t get paid to do what they do. They spend so many hours away from their families to attend meetings to make decisions for the City of Edinburg, they go to events like these all the time. They way it is going, this week, we have had two events, and they add up.

On behalf of all of us, thank you very much for the time you give us, and we know that you do it for the betterment of our city and for everyone who lives in our city. With that, I am going to introduce our mayor, Richard Garcia, for some remarks.

Mayor Richard García

Thank you, and good morning.

I know it is hot, so I won’t take long.

We do get paid. This is payback we give back to our community.

I have had good life here, born and raised in this town, and my payback is that my grand kids and all of our beautiful families are starting to enjoy in this city. That’s our pay, and I know that is in all of our hearts.

That gazebo out there is starting to make a little more sense.

When we first built it, people were asking what in the world was it doing way out in the middle of nowhere. Well, this has been a long process.

We started talking about his, and working towards this, back in 2004 – it’s been a lot of years ago. Many changes have happened. That was back when (Dr. Blandina) “Bambi” Cárdenas was the president of the (former University of Texas-Pan American, now named the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) university).

I have had the good fortune to work next to, and with, many of the presidents (of UTPA/UTRGV), going back to Dr. (Miguel) Nevárez (served from 1981 to 2004), to Dr. Cárdenas (served from 2004 to 2009), Dr. (Charles) Sorber (served from 2009 to 2010), Dr. Robert Nelsen (served 2010 to 2014); Dr. Havidán Rodríguez (served from 2014 to 2015), and now, of course, Dr. Guy Bailey (serving from 2015 to present). I thank the university for everything they have done for us.

This was a little one-horse town.

I have been here all my life. This was the edge of town – 4th Street right here was the western edge, and you can see the railroad tracks right here. There were railroad tracks on the east side, too, around 18th Street. That was Edinburg.

Out there, on the east side, close to where Sacred Heart Catholic Church is, there was a bus station before.

People used to use public transportation. Public transportation is vital to the entire world. We got a little full of ourselves in this country many years ago, when everyone wanted to ride a car instead of a bus, instead of train. It sort of went by the wayside. People in Europe, I think, were a little smarter, because trains did not go by the wayside. Today, they have the “bullet trains” (http://www.railway-technology.com/features/feature-the-10-fastest-high-speed-trains-in-europe/), and public transportation is a way of life.

That is the way it needs to be because we are growing. We are now as populated or more so than many of these areas in Europe, so we know how important it is. This is going to be vital to our city.

Right next to us, as I mentioned, there is rail. One day – and we have been talking about that for several years – light rail might happen (https://cms.fta.dot.gov). We have rail here, they didn’t pull this one up, they pulled the one on the east side.

This town was about packing sheds, the train station was right there. I remember coming there as a kid because I loved to hear the trains and the noise and steam – it’s been a lot of years ago. But this town has evolved. We are a city now, and there are a whole lot of us.

One of the biggest problems in the city is parking.

To the people who come to do business, we are an important city.

We have become a destination city with all the things being built here, with all the things that are happening in our city.

We are a center of government (as Hidalgo County seat) and people come from all over the county to do business here.

We are a center of education. UTRGV is a commuter university, people come from all over the Valley to go to school at this campus a block away.

So, this is very, very important, not only to the City of Edinburg, but to the people of this region.

We are thankful, first of all, that we have a bus station coming back to Edinburg.

Valley Metro (http://www.lrgvdc.org/valleymetro/) has done great for our Valley, and we have a great new investment happening here.

We bought this property back in 2010 with the Downtown Master Plan (http://www.cityofedinburg.com/pdfs/dtmppdfs/011910_Vision_Workshop_Final.pdf) in mind that we began developing in 2004, when we built the new City Hall in 2004, across from McIntyre Street. Everybody thought we were a little crazy back then doing that. The good news is that it all has been teamwork. We have had some great city councils which have worked hand-in-hand, like we do today, to better the city. We could see what was going to be the there.

As I mentioned about the gazebo, there are going to be pavers, fences and crossings for the students who work here and the pedestrians who go across this corridor on McIntyre Street that we refer to as Las Ramblas. When President Cárdenas and I first talked about it, I mentioned to her that I had seen a place in Barcelona, Spain called Las Ramblas ( https://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/ramblas/barcelona-las-ramblas.html). She started calling it Las Ramblas when we first started planning for it.

I don’t know what it will end up being called in Edinburg, but it will change the face of this town.

We are going to bring back it to downtown.

(Auto dealership) Bert Ogden was right down the street about three blocks from her. We had to two grocery stores – the Valley Store over on the east side, where I sacked some groceries for a long time, and Piggly Wiggly over on this (west) side. Some of you may remember those names, but they are gone. They are gone because H-E-B showed up on the town square and we thought we had died and went to Heaven. Of course, that was the end of the other stores.

H-E-B is still going strong, they are one of our Edinburg partners, and we are very happy that we have the H-E-B Park (http://www.hebparkrgv.com). These people who have done well in our community, who have paid their dues, who have sweated and toiled like the Bert Ogden Group (http://www.bertogden.com), and now we also have the Bert Ogden Arena coming (http://edinburgpolitics.com/2017/03/09/building-permit-bert-ogden-arena/).

So, it is all about hard work, education, and teamwork – working together. I commend all of you. There are so many of you here who have put in an effort.

We have $5.4+ million that will be spent here, not a bad return for the $675,000 appraised value of the site donated from the Edinburg EDC, to build this complex, knowing where we are heading. Every piece of property that we planned for, that we have secured, has brought back ten-fold if not more in return and economic impact.

The Edinburg Transit Terminal will not only house the bus station, it will also house the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation offices. That was a requirement for part of the federal grant – it had to do with economic development, and certainly, absolutely, we will move there in a New York second if can receive more than $4.3 million (from Federal Transit Administration funds) for the Edinburg Transit Terminal that will eventually bring billions of dollars in economic impact.

I can give you numbers of how many people Valley Metro carries, but it is a little to hot for that right now. Rest assured, they move a lot of people all the time, and the numbers are growing every day
(http://www.themonitor.com/news/local/article_201253ac-a305-545b-951e-7e12bbe09574.html).

I am proud to be here today.

I am thankful, and I am happy for all of you because you are the ones who will benefit from all of this.

I’ll be around for a while yet, but I know my grandkids and your grandkids will be happy to be living in a city where everyone in the Valley comes to.

I want to thank all of the staff who have worked in different capacities who have helped us plan, develop, and secure funding. All of that has come together today, and tomorrow, with all of these projects we are having, if you live in Edinburg, be happy that you do.

We have some growing problems that we are dealing with, probably the biggest one is traffic control and parking. We have several huge developers who are looking at building high-rise parking.

Where Edinburg EDC is now (101 N. 1oth Avenue, across from the Hidalgo County Courthouse), that will be retail, just like this is going to be retail here. You can look to downtown to being developed as retail, and housing as high as you want to go one day, because we need people here after 5 p.m. for these shops to survive.

That is what this whole Downtown Master Plan is about, and has been about, the last 15 years.

It is working.

It’s no negatives, all pluses.

Good luck to the City of Edinburg and thank all of you.

Irma Garza

Thank you, Mayor.

We wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Corporation. Please welcome our partner, Mr. Ron Garza (Executive Director, LRGVDC).

Ron Garza

We want to echo those comments made by the mayor.

Just from my perspective, Edinburg – so much has been done right here in terms of planning. Many times, we don’t look at things and use the term state-of-the-art with public transportation. But this going to be such a unique facility that it will be absolutely state-of-the-art to house public transportation, which is such a vital resource for citizens here, and I appreciate that.

When I look around, and I have walked the area, I really do think of things like the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio (http://www.atpearl.com) and Rice Village in Houston (http://www.ricevillagedistrict.com). It is very clear to see the potential of what this could become. With the railway here, the future is very bright, and this is going to be the anchor point for that. It is extremely exciting.

I want to thank Tom Logan. He is our director for Valley Metro, because he administers the great service. We are so proud of the robust service and our fleet of Valley Metro. UTRGV is great partner and the students embody a growing population. They have removed so much of the stigma of public transportation. It has been the cool thing to do now to ride the bus while you talk to friends, do your work, all those sorts of things, so we want to really embrace that attitude, what public transportation brings.

I want to thank Councilmember Richard Molina. He was part of our COG (Council of Governments) Executive Board when a lot of the early decisions for this were made, so I want to thank you for your leadership at that point with the COG board.

I want to thank City Manager Richard Hinojosa. You have been a great mentor for me and the process here. I do have a special guest with me – Matthew Giannini, Area Director, U.S. Department of Commerce – I have been able to drive him around parts of the Valley and brag, and this has been a focal point of my bragging. As I described the Valley, we are ripe for potential, so many projects. I think the next few years are going to be the most exciting time for the Valley.

I just want to thank everybody for the support, for the partnership. Obviously the mayor for your hard work and leadership, and I really applaud the City of Edinburg for coming together and really doing such a great project.

Thank you.

Irma Garza

I also want to introduce our last speaker, Mr. Gus García, the Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.

Gus García

Good morning, everybody.

Thank you for being here today.

Thank you, Mr. Garza, for your kind words, and of course, the mayor, city council, and my board.

I want to recognize Mr. Elías Longoria. He has also been a former councilmember, and now Secretary/Treasurer of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.

This project, as the mayor mentioned, began in 2004, prior to my sitting on the council. It was a vision by the city to really bring back a vibrant community. There were many complaints about downtown being vacated in the evenings. There has been a large effort by our council, the mayor, to bring that back.

The Edinburg EDC, as many of you know, is considered to be the jobs-creation arm of the mayor and city council. A lot of people believe we just bring restaurants to the city, but we do so much more.

We work on quality-of-life, we work on infrastructure, and it is my pleasure to come here today and speak on behalf of the Edinburg EDC and our board, and thank them for the vision as well as the city council and the mayor for their vision in determining the direction the Edinburg EDC board will go and what we are charged to do.

In 2014, we entered into an interlocal agreement with the city, through Mr. (City Manager Richard) Hinojosa to oversee the construction of this center. We thank the city for their hard work and diligent efforts in helping us bring this project to fruition.

I want to thank (project architects) Negrete and Kolar (http://www.nekoarch.com), Tom Reyna (Assistant Director, Edinburg Public Works Department), and Ponciano Longoria (Director, Edinburg Public Works Department).

I want to thank my staff including Nelda Ramírez – she is my Assistant Executive Director – and thank Tom Logan (Director, Valley Metro).

What you see before you today is not the original design. We spoke with Mr. (David) Negrete and we know the vision the council and the mayor had, and we had to find something that was multi-faceted, something that had retail components. I want to thank them for the wonderful design they came up with, it is top-notch.

I want to thank the university leadership. We have had several meetings with the dean of students, all the deans of all the departments at the university, particularly Dr. John Sargent (Ph.D), professor with UTRGV’s Department of International Business and Entrepreneurship, with President Bailey, and many of the leaders at the university to find ways to work with them.

One of those things is the incubator. As part of our design in this project, we wanted to have the kitchen incubator in the facility. There are going to be five spaces for the kitchen incubator where the Edinburg EDC will be working with local entrepreneurs to bring different types of restaurants to the area behind us. We believe it will be a wonderful draw for many people who want to get into entrepreneurship of restaurants and tourism. We are excited about that.

As the mayor mentioned, there will be a retail component in front of this building, and we are excited about that facet of this facility. And of course, the new Edinburg EDC office will be in the heart of all of that entrepreneurship program.

We are also working with Grindstone Coworking (http://thegrindstone.co), on a program called the Hive Effect (http://hiveeffect.com), initiated by the Edinburg EDC and Grindstone Coworking, which is our business retention and expansion program for bringing education for and development of entrepreneurs, start-ups and small businesses within this community.

A lot of people see that we work with big businesses, but the reality is we deal more with small businesses because we believe the small business owner is really the heart of Edinburg’s growth.

That is part of that initiative in working with the university and its entrepreneurship program, with the Hive Effect and Grindstone, this all will be part of that initiative and master plan development of this transit terminal. That is why it is the way it is. We felt it was imperative that the Edinburg EDC be at the center of that, being that we are the jobs-creation arm.

We are also excited about the transportation component of this.

As many of you are aware, we have a lot of shining new bicycles scattered throughout the city. We were very happy to partner with the city in funding that project.

(NOTE: On Monday, February 6, 2017, the City of Edinburg joined BikeShare Rio Grande Valley, a bike sharing program in use at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Brownsville, Harlingen and Edinburg campuses and in the cities of Brownsville and Harlingen. The Edinburg City Council approved an agreement to join the program at its Tuesday, January 3, 2017, meeting. The city will provide four more bike stations to accommodate those wanting an inexpensive, convenient and healthier travel alternative to an automobile.)

We love working with the city, with Mr. (Richard) Hinojosa, the mayor and city council.

The Edinburg EDC funded the new U.S Customs Facility located at our South Texas International Airport at Edinburg (http://www.cityofedinburg.com/airport.php) so we can have international travel, and we were very pleased and excited in working with the city on the project. As the mayor just mentioned, we provided the matching funding for the grant we received in working with the Federal Transit Administration and Valley Metro. As the mayor said, our $675,000 investment (FTA appraised value of the site donation) and a $413,329 cash contribution from Edinburg EDC for a $4,352,955 return.

We knew what the mayor and city council’s vision was for the McIntyre Promenade downtown.

We wanted to design a facility that was in line with their needs.

This is the product of many planning discussions and meetings with all of the parties I mentioned earlier. This is just the beginning.

We have been meeting with many members of the community, including the university deans, as I mentioned, and we are excited to be a participant in this master plan development of our downtown area to help bring more people to our community who come to visit the the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and its School of Medicine, the Hidalgo County Courthouse, Edinburg City Hall, and of course, our downtown McIntyre Promenade (currently nicknamed Las Ramblas).

••••••

Councilmember Richard Molina

I was Secretary of the Council of Governments (COG) (one of the names for the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council) when were talking about providing additional funding of $1,652,955, which was approved on July 27, 2016.

One of the people who really pioneered this movement, along with all the city officials, is Ken Jones, the former longtime Executive Director of the LRGVDC, who was working with, and mentoring, Ron Garza, before Ron took the position of Executive Director of the LRGVDC.

I do want to give credit to the region, because we have to go out and lobby for the votes from the Council of Governments to make this happen. The LRGVDC at the time appointed me to the Executive Committee. But the legwork was still needed to get the rest of the region’s representatives to agree with us.

I know Mayor (Chris) Boswell from Harlingen, Mayor (Jim) Darling from McAllen, and Hidalgo County Treasurer Norma García, who were key parts of that process. I want to thank many of those individuals for siding with Edinburg to make all of this happen, to get the federal funding to see this project to fruition. It takes so much planning from us here in Edinburg, but if we can’t get the rest of our region to support us, this won’t happen.

It’s (LRGVDC) a 26-member board, so we had many more minds to convince. It is difficult for each one of us to relinquish authority. There are many people on the LRGVDC who have a lot of say in their own communities, but to get the region to be open-minded on our (transit) terminal is what it took. I want to thank God for those people on the (LRGVDC) board.

The LRGVDC is not only about preaching regional efforts, it is showing action, and what we are doing together for our entire area. This is one of the projects that I adore because is shows we practice what we preach. When it came to something like this, the leaders on the Council of Governments looked at the big picture, what the terminal is going to do for Edinburg, for UTRGV, for our county. Everyone bought into it.

Getting back to Ken Jones – we talked about this, Ken and I – he said, “I’m going to do everything in my power to make it happen,” and that was one of his going-away presents, and on July 27, 2016, that was the last meeting when we voted on the additional funding to see this thing through.

We see Valley Metro all over the Valley. I am thinking about a someone who lives in Donna who needs to get to the university but doesn’t have the money for transportation, doesn’t have a car, but can pay a couple of bucks and can get here to his classes beginning at 9:45 in the morning in Edinburg.

I see someone in south San Juan trying to get to Edinburg to take courses at UTRGV and being able to get on one of these buses. That is my vision. Yes, many people from Edinburg will benefit from this transit terminal, but I think about those college students who will be able to get to Edinburg and be able to walk only one block to get to UTRGV and its School of Medicine.

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For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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