Explore upcoming additions and activities and make 2017 the year you get better acquainted with the RGV! This is just a taste of what’s to come. Check out www.rgvisionmagazine.com for an extended edition of this article with more information. Did we miss something we should know about? Let us know on our Facebook page or twitter, @rgvisionmagazine.
The 2017-2022 Regional Strategic Plan is a comprehensive, unified plan for the RGV categorized into five strategic vision domains which interconnect a spectrum of community priorities: Economic Development, Health & Human Services, Public Safety, Environmental Resources & Community Development, and Transportation. “It’s a starting point for tackling issues,” says Ron Garza, Executive Director of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Corporation. The blueprint for implementation of action plans across the Valley is available to the public and all planning agencies. “We’re working closely with the four public transportation organizations across the RGV and we’re working to plan together to address transportation more efficiently in the future. This is key because as population grows even more in this area, public transportation is a resource we’re going to have to start relying on a little more than we have in the past.”
OCELOTS OFF THE ROADS
Two projects to be completed by summer will balance TxDot’s obligations to the public and to Texas nature. “The ocelot is a Texas treasure and we want to maintain it but we wanted to find that perfect balance between our goals,” says Octavio Saenz, public information officer for the Texas Department of Transportation. “It’s all about safety. If we can keep the animals off the road, it’s much safer for the drivers.”
8 “ocelot crossings” on FM 106 and four crossings on State 100 aim to get all types of wildlife completely off the road. “It’s important that people are not distracted and they slow down when they see animal activity,” says Saenz. “We’re only asking people to respect the limits and drive to conditions.”
FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY IN THE UPPER VALLEY
The bowling alley in Mission formerly known as Valley Bowl has been transformed into the family fun center “IncrediBowl,” complete with new Adventure Tower, a three-story obstacle course with rock-climbing walls, balance beams and a zip line – the only tower of its kind in Texas!
Other entertainment options coming to the McAllen/Edinburg area include Dave & Buster’s, in April, an IMAX Theatre, which will be part of the existing Carmike Cinemas, and the H-E-B Park, the 9,700-seat soccer stadium and home of the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros of the United Soccer League.
Adults also have a fine option for gaming and dining in McAllen at the newly opened Europa Cuisine & Entertainment. “Europa came about because the owners travel a lot through the European countries and they really like that sporty, clean, laid back casual environment. It’s an entertainment center of a different level,” says Jason Kien, general manager. “People can come in and bowl, play in the arcade, or just come in and dine or have a drink. The bar is huge, with a 3D TV covering the entire length. We want to be one step above in everything we do.”
A PIT STOP FOR TOURING BANDS
Yerberia Cultura in downtown McAllen lends its stage to large indie performers; co-owner Patrick Garcia has brought Phantogram, the Zombies, Of Montreal, the 1984, and Sotomayor. Galax Z Fair in early March is on again and Garcia has national and international bands lined up for January and February: a hip-hop group from Uruguay, Eli Almic & Dj RC; Denmark’s Marching Church; the LA-based, post-punk Drab Majesty; Priests from Washington, D.C.; and the Brazilian, post-punk, female-fronted Rakta.
MEN’S GROOMING & STYLE
Doc’s Apothecary in McAllen caters to men by offering several services you typically don’t see together. “We’re a hybrid coffee/barber shop and men’s goods store,” says co-owner Hugo Alvarez. “You see a lot of one-stop-shops like this for women, but men don’t have many places to hang out where they can get everything they need.” An eclectic selection of goods like gourmet peanut butter, turntables and everything retro ensures your finding the perfect gift or treat-yo’-self item.“We’ve invested a lot in our chairs and barbers to give that classic barber-shop feel,” says Alvarez.
PROFESSIONAL GRADE 3D MODELING AND PRINTING
Professional and production 3D printing has made its way to the RGV through foldio 3D Printing Solutions, located inside the new CEED building in Mission. The company offers top-of-the-line professional and production 3D printers that produce objects in high detail in a variety of plastics, metals, elastic materials, ceramic, wood and more. Foldio also offers advanced, high-resolution 3D scanners and scanning services as well as 3D design and modeling software.
“We’re envisioning to help boost the RGV economy by enabling businesses to increase capability and efficiency,” says Jose Laguna. “We enable manufacturing companies to move through iterations of product development prototypes much faster and at a lower cost. Our technology also enables the creation of end-user ready and even functional parts in a single print.”
DEVELOPMENTS & EVENTS AT SOUTH PADRE ISLAND
The South Padre Island Economic Development Corporation is planning to make SPI even more of a travel destination. The Sand Dollars for Success Grant Program is a business plan competition, while the Design Façade Improvement Grant Program matches half of the cost of renovations for businesses who improve their storefronts, beautifying the island shopping strip.
Other infrastructure improvements like new sidewalks, a fishing pier over the Gulf of Mexico, and an offshore artificial reef to enhance fishing opportunities will allow visitors to better enjoy the outdoors, while new businesses like a Dollar General, Marriott Hotel, and the Skipjack LLC Bayside master plan development contribute to the local economy.
SPI will host the 21st Legislative Tour of the Rio Grande Valley on January 26-29. The legislative tour brings a delegation of lawmakers to South Texas to engage our local communities and supporters in a direct conversation with our policymakers.
SiteLink Forum SPI on Feb. 22-24 is a conference that connects leaders in the automotive, logistics, aerospace, call center and other industries with economic development ideas.
CELEBRATING HISTORY AND LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE IN THE LOWER VALLEY
Keep Harlingen Beautiful has several initiatives planned for next year, including the groundbreaking in January for a renovation project at the entrance of the city. A 250k grant through the Governor’s Community Achievement Award will be used to transform the area across the street from the visitor information center with a walking path, lighting, and new trees. It’s expected to be done in April.
At an e-waste event and clean sweep on Jan. 14 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m., individuals can recycle their electronics, (or anything else they want to get rid of), free of charge to Fairpark Blvd next to Harlingen Police Department. In April, a Spring Litter Bash is planned to keep high-traffic areas like parks free of garbage. Over 500 volunteers have joined the effort in the past.
Walk through Brownsville and find the fourteen historical signs marking the Rio Grande Valley Civil War Trail. These observe the last land battle of the American Civil War, which took place at Palmito Ranch Battlefield.
A convention center is in the works for Harlingen. The convention center will hold as many as 1,503 people in its 17,100-square-foot main ballroom.
The Brownsville Museum of Fine Art is having an international art show in March. Deadline to enter is the end of February, and $4,500 in prizes is up for grabs.
Teach For America Week brings community leaders into classrooms for guest lessons. A breakfast on February 16th at Harlingen Country Club will bring the community together in support of the mission of TFA in the Rio Grande Valley. Fresh off an international learning visit to Singapore, Harlingen CISD Superintendent Dr. Arturo Cavazos will share reflections and lessons learned from this recent trip.