In mid-January, the inside of the Center for Education and Economic Development in Mission bustled. Maps unfurled over desktops, furniture was moved around, and a team of architects, urbanists, designers, town planners, and other professionals from Able City and Dover, Kohl & Partners conducted public workshops and pored over options for Killam Development’s new 3,400-acre project near Sharyland Plantation.
“The goal of the workshops was to involve the community in the planning of the master-planned community,” Daniel Silva, CEO of the Mission Economic Development Corporation, wrote in an email. “The goal of the new development is to be very community based and the Killams wanted to make sure to include the right type of housing, quality of life, retail, and entertainment.”
Over the course of a single week, a number of public discussions and open studio opportunities awaited those who wanted to add their input on the development. Topics ranged from housing options and arts and culture to health and wellness and child friendly design.
“A lot of individuals had their reservations and fears of what could possibly be built in their backyard,” Silva wrote. “The meetings allowed them to voice their concerns and be reassured that a lot of attention will be given to developing the 3,400 acres in a very beneficial way.”
Around 400 people in total took part in the planning process, which included everyone from elected officials, teachers, young professionals, and even high schoolers, who told the planners what it would take to get them to stay in the RGV, Silva wrote.
“It’s been a really amazing week. We started with a kickoff presentation on Monday, we talked to all kinds of people with technical meetings and stakeholder meetings and public meetings, and now we’ve arrived at the big show,” said Jason King of Dover, Kohl & Partners during the final presentation that covered what participants said they wanted to see happen with the development.
During that presentation, attendees had the opportunity to peruse posters, polls, surveys, and word clouds developed throughout the week. King took everyone through a virtual tour of what the community could possibly include, such as tree-lined residential areas situated within walking distance of retail necessities, covered playgrounds, public parks with water features, and more.
“We will have an opportunity to see a huge portion of our city that has not been utilized turn into a development that will include features that we have only previously experienced outside of the Valley,” Silva wrote of the project. “We will be able to call it our own and the entire RGV will benefit.”
The five biggest overarching ideas for the development included connecting to existing communities and recognizing the Valley’s unique identity, increasing access to nature, building parks, and preserving key farm fields; providing something different from the norm as a new development; constructing safe, comfortable, and interesting streets for walking and biking; and creating a prosperous but still affordable region.
“It is not a common occurrence to see level of development such as this take place in such a quick amount of time,” Silva wrote. “The property has sat dormant for roughly 10 years and its a breath of fresh air to see that their development schedule is very aggressive and we will start to see major changes by the end of 2020.”
Silva added that the development, which spans parts of Mission and McAllen, will bring tremendous growth to his city, drawing retail, industrial, and commercial development as well as residential development for families. Everyone from job seekers to school districts stand to benefit.
“The Killam family has been amazing to work with. They are very respectful of our ideas and listen to our needs,” Silva wrote. “I believe they want what is best for Mission and the entire RGV and they will work very closely with the EDC and the City to accomplish everyone’s goals.”
Learn more about the project and stay up to date by visiting ImagineRGV.com.