Featured: Former Edinburg Mayor Joe Ochoa, along with his son, Omar Ochoa, meet with Congressman Vicente González, D-Edinburg, on Saturday, December 9, 2017, at the Embassy Suites in McAllen, where the U.S. lawmaker was hosting a Christmas celebration for his supporters and to collect toys for deserving area children as Christmas gifts. The former mayor was recently appointed by the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council to serve on the Edinburg Planning and Zoning Commission. Ochoa was elected by his fellow board members as Chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission. Mayor Richard Molina represents the City Council on the Planning and Zoning Commission. The Planning and Zoning staff administers the review of development projects to ensure compliance with the city regulations, coordinates pre-submittal meetings and administers the zoning and platting process. The staff also prepares reports, presents site data and recommendations to the Planning and Zoning Commission and City Council regarding rezoning, special use permits, and subdivision plats.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
Total construction activities in Edinburg from January through October 2017, including more than $22.5 million for the month ofOctober, has passed the quarter-billion dollarlevel, compared with $188.7million during the first 10 months of 2016, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. During October 2017, new construction of multi-family residences and new construction of new homes led the way, with the issuance of building permits for investments valued at almost $14.9 million and more than $5.8 million, respectively. Those year-to-date and monthly totals do not include the value of any building-related activities at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley and the UTRGV School of Medicine in Edinburg because the state government, not the city, oversees all construction at the Edinburg campus. The building permits do not include the value of the land for the homes and buildings. The top construction projects in Edinburg for October 2017, not including the value of the land, are: $12,500,000 – EHA Liberty Village, LTD, 4710 Veterans Blvd., Liberty Village Subdivision (Multi-Family Residences New Construction), and $1,250,000 – South Texas Museum, 200 N. Closner Blvd., Edinburg Original Townsite Subdivision (Non-Taxable Additions/Repairs).The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of City Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Isael Posadas, P.E., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Julio César Carranza and Noé Sauceda, Ph.D. as Members. In general, a building permit is legal permission given by the City of Edinburg, through the Code Enforcement Department, to erect, construct, renovate, maintain, or conduct any other specified activity on any building or structure, or on any installations or facilities therein. The term “building permit” includes but is not limited to building permits, electrical permits, mechanical permits, and plumbing permits.
Featured: Borja Angoitia, goalkeeper for the Rio Grande Valley Football Club Toros professional soccer team, helps defend against the Liga MX side C.F. Monterrey Rayados on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at the club’s new H-E-B Park for the venue’s inaugural game.
Photograph By DIEGO REYNA
H-E-B Park, a $16.8+ million sports and entertainment outdoor complex that features a 9,700 seat capacity soccer-specific stadium, has scored another major goal for its hometown with news that WalletHub, a national personal finance website, has named Edinburg as 2nd Best Small City for Soccer Fans for 2017, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. In addition, WalletHub rated Edinburg 29th best among all U.S. cities for soccer fans, an accomplishment that places it in the top 10 percent in the nation, among the cities involved in the study, for community involvement in that sport. “Once more, a national, independent, and very credible source has concluded what we know very well here at home – Edinburg has a very high quality-of-life to offer its citizens from all walks of life,” said Agustín García, Executive Director for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “We have one of the best public school systems in the state, we feature one of the largest University of Texas campuses, with its own School of Medicine, our hospital systems are nationally-ranked, and by the time 2017 is completed, the construction of new homes and businesses in Edinburg for the year is anticipated to pass $200 million.” The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of Edinburg Mayor Richard García and the Edinburg City Council, which includes Mayor Pro Tem J.R. Betancourt, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. Councilmember Richard Molina, and Councilmember David Torres. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr. as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García, Jr. are not related.
The state-of-the-art H-E-B Park in Edinburg has many amenities, including a full-service restaurant, executive lounges, a sports bar, and 33 suites. Suites include VIP amenities and a 16-seat capacity. Park grounds include practice fields for 7v7 and 5v5 soccer, various bench areas with picnic-sized tables, a playground, and an amphitheater with a capacity for more than 2,000 individuals. H-E-B Park hosts top-of-the-line professional soccer, musical concerts, high school sporting events, and other forms of entertainment. The stadium, which is modeled after the Houston Dynamo’s BBVA Compass Stadium, is located at the intersection of East Freddy González Drive and South Raúl Longoria Road.
Photo Courtesy RGV FC TOROS
“We are about three months away from opening the $88+ million Bert Ogden Arena, which will be the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex south of San Antonio, and people from all over the Valley, Texas, and the U.S. have a direct, nonstop way to get to Edinburg because we are served by Interstate Highway 69 and the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg. Those assets are just the tip of the iceberg of what makes our community a ‘Destination City’,” said Agustín García, Executive Director of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “But most important, the vision of our elected, business and community leadership, and the amazing people of our community are who make Edinburg the American Success story that it has become.” Even the symbol of the hometown professional soccer team, the Rio Grande Valley Football Club Toros, proudly portrays Edinburg’s and the Rio Grande Valley’s regional strengths, according to the team’s website, which explains, “The Toros’ logo follows the mold of a traditional soccer shield, but offers a twist with the addition of horns to allude to the Toros nickname. The stripes at the bottom of the shield represent the agriculture industry of the Rio Grande Valley, which historically bright trade and commerce to the region. The vertical lines at the top of the graphic represent the sun and Valley heat, while also reflecting an element of the Toros’ Major League Soccer single-affiliate Houston Dynamo’s logo.” H-E-B Park at all its amenities enables Edinburg to be a staple as an entertainment hub in the Rio Grande Valley, and considerably helps it in the city and Edinburg EDC leaderships’ efforts to market the community as a “Destination City”.
IDL TIFF file
As Hurricane Harvey approached the shores over coastal Texas on Thursday, August 24, 2017, Edinburg and Rio Grande Valley were alarmed over the possibility that it could strike close to home. Instead, deep South Texas was spared from what became one of the most powerful hurricanes in history – a category 4 storm thaton Friday night, August 25, 2017 packed wind gusts up to 132 miles per hour northeast of Corpus Christi, and which has caused billions of dollars in damages and human suffering from flooding in the Houston region in the following days.
Photograph By NASA
Local officials and organizations are pulling together resources as part of a national effort to help the countless Texans hurt by Hurricane Harvey, which on Friday, August 25, 2017 slammed into the Texas Coastal Bend, anchored by Corpus Christi, threatened metropolitan areas of San Antonio and Austin, and has produced epic flooding in the Houston region, including the displacing of thousands of homeowners, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. “We wish all those (affected by Hurricane Harvey) well, and we ask that you put them in your prayers, because God knows they need it,” Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, said Monday, August 28, 2017, during the Edinburg EDC Facebook live broadcast, “Edinburg Connects”. In response to the humanitarian disaster that has taken place elsewhere in Texas, the City of Edinburg, the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which has its main campus and its School of Medicine in Edinburg, have announced their respective assistance plans, which began on Monday, August 28, 2017 and will continue through the upcoming weekend and beyond. The Edinburg EDC is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mayor Richard García as President, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr. as Vice President, Elías Longoria, Jr., as Secretary/Treasurer, and Richard Ruppert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Mayor Richard García and Edinburg EDC Executive Director Agustín García are not related.
Featured, from left: Mayor Pro Tem J.R. Betancourt; Harvey Rodríguez, Jr., Vice President, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; Elías Longoria, Jr., Secretary/Treasurer, Board of Directors, Edinburg Economic Development Corporation; and City Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr. The local leaders were in attendance on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 for the State of the City Address by Mayor Richard García, held in the recently-opened IMAX theatre in Edinburg. “Success attracts success, and major developments such as this venue where we are, is one such example,” García said. “We are proud to be the home to the only IMAX theatre south of San Antonio. This IMAX is a $5 million investment, creating 50 jobs, and contributing a riveting movie experience.”
Featured, from left: City Councilmember David Torres and his wife, Ellie Torres, who currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District; and Ambrosio “Amos” Hernández, M.D., Mayor of Pharr, on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 for the State of the City Address by Mayor Richard García, held in the recently-opened $5 million IMAX theatre in Edinburg. Torres also is a former member of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. Mayor Richard García predicted that the construction activities in Edinburg are sure to break last year’s mark. “In 2016, the Planning and Zoning Department issued $209 in construction project permits, up from $139.5 million in 2015, $120.5 million in 2014, and $123 million in 2013,” the mayor reported. “We are on track to exceed $209 million by the end of this year.”
Featured: City Councilmember Richard Molina and his wife, Dalia (shown smiling at the camera), take a photograph with an unidentified resident outside the recently-opened $5 million IMAX theater in Edinburg. The Molinas along with the Edinburg City Council and the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation joined several hundred area residents on Wednesday, May 12, 2017, for the State of the City Address by Mayor Richard García. Total construction activities in Edinburg during February 2017 reached more than $9.2 million – almost the exact total for the February 2016 figure – with the construction of new homes leading the way, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. Year-t0-date, however, as a result of a construction permit valued at $80 million for the city-owned Bert Ogden Arena being issued in January 2017, total construction in the city for the first two months of 2017 is valued at more than $102.6 million – more than double the $45.4 million combined level for January and February 2016.
Photographs By ALEX RÍOS
Featured: Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, wearing their traditional “Texas Tan” uniforms and cowboy hats with their patent leather gun belts, showed up on Friday, March 3, 2017, along with other South Texas law enforcement professionals for the groundbreaking of the multi-million dollar Regional Center for Public Safety Excellence, located at 4300 S. Cage Boulevard in Pharr. The upcoming campus is a collaboration between South Texas College, the City of Pharr, the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo School District, and the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). “The facility will benefit the region by adding additional programs in public safety, law enforcement, border security, and fire science. These programs provide college level certificates and degrees for public safety and law enforcement professionals in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Mario Reyna, Dean for Business and Technology at STC. “Furthermore, this center will be able to accommodate the professional continuing education courses required by all law enforcement officers. The spectrum of courses offered will cover all the needs of our region. Traveling to College Station or San Antonio for specialized training will be a thing of the past.”
Photograph By ALEX RÍOS
Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, Texas Rangers and other DPS commissioned officers, such as Criminal Investigations Division Special Agents, Texas Capitol Security, and other personnel within the Texas Highway Patrol, would earn overtime pay on a daily basis under legislation by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, Rep. Rick Miller, R-Sugar Land, and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen. House Bill 483 by Miller/Canales and Senate Bill 297 by Hinojosa, which are identical in language, would change Section 411.016, Government Code, to allow DPS, which is a state police force, to calculate overtime for eligible staff – including its Homeland Security Division and Counterterrorism Division – based on working more than eight hours in a 24-hour period, according to the bill analysis of both measures. The two bills would benefit officers because it would allow them to take sick leave or other types of leave without risking the loss of earned overtime. As DPS officers move to a standard 50-hour work week, they will develop a reasonable expectation of paid overtime based on the standard schedule. “In order to increase protection for our citizens, DPS often has its troopers on duty for up to 12 hours a day, which is 48 hours during four days of a five-day, eight hour a day, workweek. ” Canales explained. “But currently, if for whatever reason, any trooper who has worked more than 40 hours in four days is not available or not needed on the fifth day, he or she would not receive any overtime pay. That’s not fair. Our law enforcement professionals put their lives on the line for us every day.”