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.”
Featured, from left: Dalila Razo, Office Manager, Letty Reyes, Director of Business Development and Public Affairs, and Agustín García, Jr., Executive Director, who are on the staff of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, and acting on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Edinburg EDC, on Monday, February 13, 2017, present a $15,000 check from the Edinburg EDC to Letty González, President, Edinburg Chamber of Commerce, to help with the 49th Annual Fiesta Edinburg. Fiesta Edinburg will run from Thursday, February 23 to Sunday, February 26, 2017 at H-E-B Park, located at 1616 S. Raul Longoria Road.
Photograph By RONNIE LARRALDE
More than 15,000 local residents and visitors from as far away as San Antonio, drawn by two evenings of outdoor music concerts headlined by national and international stars, along with four days of one of the country’s top-rated carnivals, could set a record turnout for the 49th Annual Fiesta Edinburg on Thursday, February 23 through Sunday, February 26, 2017, reports the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation. “I believe we will break our records, and typically, we average 12,000 to 15,000 visitors for the four-day event, but with concerts, the carnival, the new venue, and the parade, we should surpass that figure,” said Ronnie Larralde, Director of Marketing and Special Events for the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce. “We have been promoting this event since December, and it has created the biggest buzz. Their is great entertainment coming, there has been a lot of promotion for our city, and it has continued to grow.” Major attractions are the Heart of America Carnival, regional food, arts/crafts plus the top notch musical entertainment, which include Josh Turner, Lauren Corzine, Eddie Sáenz, and The Powell Brothers on Friday evening, and Los Cadetes de Linares de Rosendo Cantú, Zamorales, Notable, and Resplandor on Saturday evening. Individuals may purchase tickets at http://www.hebparkrgv.com. For more information please contact the Edinburg Chamber of Commerce at 956/383-4974.
Featured: The Center for Border Economic Studies (CBEST) of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley on Friday, January 27, 2017, hosted its Economic Forecast Luncheon at the McAllen Public Library Conference Center. Visitors heard about the research and predicted outcomes of economic development in the area from speakers that included Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca, Governor of Tamaulipas, Mexico; Dr. Salvador Contreras, Director of CBEST; Dr. Dennis Jansen, Professor of Economics, Texas A&M University; María D. Juárez-Serna, Director of the UTRGV Small Business Development Center; and Dr. Keith R. Phillips, Assistant Vice President and Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio Branch. Contreras addressed current and future regional economic activity, including the new, large retailers building in the McAllen-Edinburg-Mission area that place the MSA among some of the top metros in Texas, including San Antonio and Austin. The luncheon concluded with Gov. García Cabeza de Vaca, who told the crowd, “We can grow juntos (together) more than we can as two,” and encouraged our country to “build bridges, not walls.”
Photograph By SILVER SALAS
While the combined average of cities statewide in December 2016 showed a 0.9 percent decrease, Edinburg recorded a 1.33 percent increase in its retail economy, according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. For the month of December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy – as measured by local sales taxes generated from purchases of eligible goods and services – had the third-best showing among the Valley’s largest cities. That figure is based on sales made in December 2016 by businesses that report tax monthly; October, November and December sales by quarterly filers; and 2016 sales by businesses that report tax annually. The local sales tax is used in Edinburg to help pay for many city services, while the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation uses its one-half cent local sales tax to help generate economic development in the city. For December 2016, Edinburg’s retail economy generated $2,248,780.54 in local sales taxes, compared with $2,219,178.85 during the same period in 2015, representing the improvement of 1.33 percent, also according to the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.
Featured: Top images – Two perspectives of the $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building (IEASB), designed by Overland Partners Architects of San Antonio, and to be constructed by Vaughn Construction of San Antonio. Bottom image – the southern portion of the Edinburg Campus of The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, with the location of the IEASB highlighted in burnt orange for easy reference. With about 53,400 gross square feet of space, the facility will be located in the heart of the campus, west of the Library and just north of the Student Union.
Artist Renderings Courtesy of OVERLAND PARTNERS ARCHITECTS
The availability of $20 million in state funds to significantly improve the drainage of heavy rains in downtown Edinburg will benefit many residences, businesses, government facilities, residences, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, including its School of Medicine, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The $20 million windfall, part of $400 million in state money budgeted for numerous Texas roadway projects in Hidalgo County, has been made possible as a result of ongoing efforts by the City of Edinburg, Hidalgo County, and the Edinburg EDC to build up the infrastructure for the proposed $150 million Hidalgo County Courthouse, which will built downtown, on the county-owned Courthouse Square. “We are very excited and very happy that along with this great new project ($150 million Hidalgo County Courthouse) that is happening in our city, we have $20 million that is basically being spent in the city of Edinburg for drainage,” said Mayor García. “This money for the drainage will help alleviate decades of flooding in the downtown area, not just on the Courthouse Square, but in areas surrounding the square that have flooded in the past.” Precinct 4 Hidalgo County Commissioner Joseph Palacios, who represents Edinburg, said the state money is being funneled through the Weslaco-based Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is a federally-funded program that addresses the mobility goals of the cities in Hidalgo County. “We were very fortunate to secure $20 million for downtown Edinburg. This project will focus on road and drainage improvements right at the Courthouse Square, westbound all the way to the main outfall at Jackson Road and State Highway 107,” said Palacios. “Beneficiaries of this project are the commercial interests, the city, the university and the Courthouse Square.” According to Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García, the estimated value of the commercial and residential properties that will benefit from the drainage improvements – not including UTRGV or county or city facilities in the area – is estimated at $150 million. The engineering work is already underway, the county judge added. 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 Rupert and Dr. Peter Dabrowski as Members. Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director for the Edinburg EDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. Agustín García, Jr., Mayor Richard García and Hidalgo County Judge Ramón García are not related.