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Featured: Sixteen University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships this year that will take them around the world for Study Abroad courses this summer. The students are from across the Valley. Countries in this year’s studies abroad include Ireland, Brazil, Germany, China, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Peru and the United Kingdom. Shown are UTRGV Gilman recipients, professors and program administrators. From left, front row: Dr. Yanina Hernández, Lecturer, Writing & Language Studies; Lizette Leal, Specialist, International Programs & Partnerships; Raisa Ramírez; Alexandra Torres; Dr. Ping Xu, Assistant Professor of Art; Dr. Robert Gilbert, Associate Professor of art; Emily Rivas; Stephanie Torres; Myrine Barreiro-Arévalo; and Lorelei López. From left, back row: Maraya García; Samantha Bustillos; Dr. Robert Bradley, Associate Professor of Art; Gerardo Segundo; Alan Earhart, Director of International Programs & Partnerships; Ricardo Carrillo; Omar Nedzelsky Jr; Samuel Cavazos; and Dr. Robert Hoppens, Associate Professor of History. Not pictured are Gilman recipients Kristopher Price, Valeria Treviño, Jose García and Raul Martínez. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and its Board of Directors, lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on matters that benefit and protect UTRGV and its School of Medicine, which have major campuses in the city. 

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

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Construction activities in city total more than $43.5 million for first third of 2018, reports Edinburg Economic Development Corporation

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

Total construction activities in Edinburg from January through April 2018 were valued at more than $43.5 million, with almost $6.1 million of that figure taking place in the month of April 2018, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

From January through April 2018, new construction of multi-family residences and single-family homes  led the way, with the issuance of building permits for investments valued at more than $15.2 million and almost $14.8 million, respectively.

All 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 University of Texas Rio Grande Valley 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.

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.

There was a building permit issued during February 2018 for construction, valued at $18 million, which appeared on the city’s Code Enforcement Department’s construction activities report for that month.

But that $18 million figure is for work already authorized by the Code Enforcement Department in early 2017 for the city-owned $88.3 million Bert Ogden Arena.

As a result, the $18 million value for the building permit for the Bert Ogden Arena is not, and will not be, included in this and subsequent articles about the monthly and year-to-date construction activities in the city for 2018.

The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

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, Councilmember Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.

MOST VALUABLE CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS, APRIL 2018

For April 2018, total construction activities in Edinburg were valued at $6,091,258, according to the city’s Code Enforcement Department.

The top construction projects in Edinburg for April 2018, not including the value of the land, were:

$450,000 – RMJ Investments, 1727 W. Trenton Rd., Concord Plaza Subdivision (Commercial Additions/Repairs);
$325,000 – Raúl Guajardo, 3418 Monserat Dr., Spanish Oaks Subdivision (Residence New);
$300,000 – Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District North High School, 3101 N. Closner Blvd., Texas Mexican Railway Subdivision; and
$279,680 – Alonzo Cantú, 1616 S. Raúl Longoria, Family Recreations & Aquatics Subdivision (Commercial Additions/Repairs).

116 NEW SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES, VALUED AT ALMOST $14.8 MILLION, APPROVED FOR CONSTRUCTION DURING JANUARY THROUGH APRIL 2018

From January through April 2018, building permits were issued for 116 new single-family residences, valued at $14,792,365, compared with 178 new single-family residences, valued at $20,465,358, during the first third of 2017.

During the first four months of 2018, building permits were issued for 208 additions/remodels of single-family residences, valued at $1,840,674, compared with 261 additions/remodels of single-family residences, valued at $2,215,784, during the first third of 2017.

From January through April 2018, building permits were issued for 78 multi-family residences, representing 316 units, valued at $15,228,643, compared with 95 multi-family residences, representing 340 units, valued at $17,727,844, during the first four months the previous year.

Multi-family residences range from two-unit duplexes to complexes of five or more units.

APRIL 2018 CITY BUILDING PERMITS, $100,000 AND HIGHER

Single-Family Residences New Construction

For April 2018, there were 27 single-family residences issued building permits by the city, compared with 56 single-family residences issued building permits in April 2017.

The building permits, which do not include the price of the lot, ranged from $30,000 to $325,000, and represented a total value of $3,391,376, compared with $6,318,580 in April 2017.

Of the 27 single-family residences for which building permits were issued in April 2018, 17 of them were for construction each valued at $100,000 or higher.

The $100,000+ building permits issued in April 2018 for single-family residences follow by value of the construction, name of the owner(s), address, and subdivision.

$325,000 – Raúl Guajardo, 3418 Monserat Dr., Spanish Oaks Subdivision;
$200,000 – Ronnie Cavazos Structure Team, 2311 Vancouver Ave. Jackson Heights Subdivision;
$200,000 – Ronnie Cavazos Structure Team, 2517 McLeod Ave., Jackson Heights Subdivision;
$185,000 – RGV Xtreme Investment, 2601 Wolverine St., The Reserves at Canton Subdivision;
$180,000 – Dulce Banda, 1433 Bianca St., Lantana Estates Subdivision;
$180,000 – Lord I. González, 1706 Red River, Sugar Oaks Subdivision;
$165,000 – Daniel Quintanilla, 3204 Salvador Ave., West Meadows UT Subdivision;
$147,000 – Salvador Alanis, 2616 Wolverine, The Reserves at Canton Subdivision;
$144,000 – Darren Garza, 3420 Granada St., Sevilla Grande Subdivision;
$140,000 – Peter Vargas Innovative Homes, LLC, 2514 Encino Ct., Maple Ridge Subdivision;
$135,000 – Rubén Gutiérrez, 1371 Shania Twain Dr., Chapin’s Corner Subdivision;
$130,000 – La Gran Piedra, 2604 Wolverine St., The Reserves at Canton Subdivision;
$120,000 – Casurb Properties, LLC, 2912 Bobcat Ave., The Reserves at Canton Subdivision;
$120,000 – Casurb Properties, LLC, 3002 Bobcat Ave., The Reserves at Canton Subdivision;
$116,710 – Camino Real Builders, 1417 Chapel Hill, The Hills at Chapin Subdivision;
$105,000 – Kevork and Lisa I. Kirakossian, 2548 Links Dr., Los Lagos Ph. 4 Subdivision; and
$100,000 – Gilbert Espino, 3521 Morris St., Los Lagos Ph. 4 Amended Subdivision.

Multi-Family Residences New Construction/Addition/Remodel

For April 2018, building permits were issued for three multi-family residences new/addition/remodel, compared with 29 multi-family residences new construction/addition/remodel in April 2017.

The building permits, which do not include the price of the lot, represented a total value of $273,000, representing four units, compared with $11,812,500, representing 167 units, in April 2017 .

The building permit for the one structure valued at $100,000 0r higher follows by the value of the construction, name of the owner, address, and subdivision:

$270,000 – Kevin Ramírez, 2810 Javalina Ave., The Reserves at Canton Subdivision.

Commercial New Construction

For April 2018, there were five building permits issued by the city for new commercial construction, with one of those permits for work valued at $100,ooo or higher.

The building permits, which do not include the price of the lot, represented a total value of $381,939, compared with $3,596,000 in April 2017 .

The building permit for the one structure valued at $100,000 0r higher follows by the value of the construction, name of the owner, address, and subdivision:

$202,541 –Cantú Construction, 1508 Lone Star Way Unit 5, Lone Star Plaza Subdivision.

Residential Additions/Repairs

For April 2018, there were no residential additions/repairs projects valued at $100,000 or higher, issued a building permit by the city.

In all, there were 64 residential additions/repairs projects authorized for that month, ranging from $4o to $52,000, for a total value of $584,613.

Commercial Additions/Repairs

For April 2018, there were 31 commercial additions/repairs which were issued building permits by the city.

The building permits, which do not include the price of the lot, ranged from $350 to $450,000, and represented a total value of $936,330.

Of the 31 commercial additions/repairs for which building permits were issued, two were for construction valued at $100,000 or higher.

The building permits for the two structures valued at $100,000 or higher follow by value of the construction, name of the owner, address, and subdivision:

$450,000 – RMJ Investments, 1727 W. Trenton Rd., Concord Plaza Subdivision; and
$279,680 – Alonzo Cantú, 1616 S. Raul Longoria Rd., Family Recreations & Aquatics Subdivision.

Non-Taxable Additions/Remodel

For April 2018, there were three non-taxable addition/remodel issued building permits by the city.

The building permits, which do not include the price of the lot, ranged from $3,000 to $300,000, and represented a total value of $524,000.

Of the three non-taxable addition/remodel for which building permits were issued, two were for construction valued at $100,000 or higher.

That building permits follow by the value of the construction, name of the owner, address, and subdivision:

$300,000 – Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District (Barrientes Middle School), 3101 N. Closner Blvd., Texas Mexican Railway; and
$221,000 – Iglesia de Cristo, 510 N. 12th Ave., Edinburg Original Townsite Subdivision.

Non-Taxable New Construction

For April 2018, there was no building permit issued for non-taxable new construction.

CONSTRUCTION ACTIVITIES, BY TOP CATEGORIES, JANUARY THROUGH APRIL 2018

The top categories in Edinburg from January through April 2018, which led to the total figure of $43,566,539, were:

$15,228,643 – Multi-Family Residences New Construction;
$14,792,365 – Single-Family Residences New Construction;
$4,319,920 – Commercial Alterations;
$4,269,972 – Commercial New Construction;
$3,114,965 – Non-Taxable Alterations (government, religious, but not including the value of construction activities at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley or its School of Medicine);
$1,840,674– Residential Alterations; and
$0 – Non-Taxable New (government, religious, but not including the value of construction activities at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley or its School of Medicine).

The top categories in Edinburg from January through April 2017, which led to the total figure of $140,444,456, were:

$80,000,000 – Non-Taxable New (government, religious, but not including the value of construction activities at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley or its School of Medicine). This category represents the value of the building permit for new construction of the Bert Ogden Arena;
$20,465,358 – Single-Family Residences New Construction;
$17,727,844 – Multi-Family Residences New Construction;
$14,227,694 – Commercial New Construction;
$4,391,828 – Commercial Alterations;
$2,215,784– Residential Alterations; and
$1,415,984 – Non-Taxable Alterations (government, religious, but not including the value of construction activities at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley or its School of Medicine).

SIXTEEN UTRGV STUDENTS AWARDED GILMAN SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDY ABROAD

Sixteen University of Texas Rio Grande Valley students have been awarded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships that will take them to diverse parts of the world for their Study Abroad courses this summer.
 
The 16 students, from across the Rio Grande Valley – to include Edinburg, McAllen, Mission, La Grulla, Weslaco, Donna, San Juan, Palmview, San Benito and Roma – will travel in a variety of different trips to Ireland, Brazil, Germany, China, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Italy, Peru and the United Kingdom.

The Gilman is a program of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Scholarships are awarded to undergraduate students who wish to study or intern abroad to broaden their scope on international affairs and economic competitiveness.

Alan Earhart, Director of UTRGV’s International Programs and Partnerships within the Office of Global Engagement, on Tuesday, May 22, 2018 said the Gilman scholarship provides UTRGV students with wonderful opportunities.

“The purpose of the scholarship is to provide support to students who would not normally be able to participate in a study abroad program due to lack of funding,” he said. “It is for this reason that the Office of Global Engagement and the Honors College have been actively supporting students with their applications.”

Earhart said they also have provided workshops and feedback for students on their essays.
“We are very pleased that these students have won the scholarship this year, as studying abroad has profound effects on students,” he said.

Students eager for cultural experiences

Maraya García, an Edinburg resident, said her coming trip to Cusco, Peru, will enable her to completely immerse herself in a new culture and expand her perspective on globalization.

“I will be taking two courses in Alpine Ecosystems in the Peruvian Andes, an honors course, and Topics in Art History,” the UTRGV Biological Sciences major said.

“I believe that allowing myself to meet and live amongst different people will only make me that much better of a person, especially since I am also an aspiring physician,” García said.

Samuel Cavazos, an Edinburg resident and an Exercise Science major, will be going to Scotland to study Family and Disability with Dr. Bruce Reed, from the UTRGV School of Rehabilitation Services and Counseling.

As an aspiring occupational therapist, Cavazos said, the experiences will be valuable for the future.

“I will experience new cultures and see historical sites, learn from rehabilitation leaders and agencies, and gain a new perspective of how the disabled population lives in another country,” the UTRGV junior said. “I know this trip will inspire me and make me a better advocate for the disabled community. I believe that every young person should travel if they can and take advantage of the financial aid that is available.”

Gerardo Segundo, a San Benito resident, said he worked hard on his application essays in order to properly describe his anticipation for traveling abroad.

“This three-week trip to Ireland is extremely exciting because it will be my first time traveling to Europe,” the UTRGV theatre major said. “The course I’m enrolled in is Irish Plays and Playwrights, with Dr. Brian Warren. I think this trip will be an invaluable experience because it will expose me to people and a culture I would never truly get to see where I live.”

Segundo said that he is still deciding what he wants to do after graduating in spring 2019, but plans to pursue other internship possibilities to continue his educational growth.

For more information on the Gilman Scholarship, contact Lizette Leal in the Office of International Programs and Partnerships, (956) 665-3572, or email lizette.leal01@utrgv.edu.

About the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

The U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and internships are available during the spring, summer, fall or academic year term. The scholarship is a grant program that enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, thereby gaining skills critical to our national security and economic prosperity. The Institute of International Education has administered the program since its inception in 2001.

About UTRGV

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island.

UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.

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Amanda Taylor contributed to this article. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com.

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