|MERCEDES, January 23 - On Tuesday, the City of Mercedes passed a resolution in support of having the UT-Rio Grande Valley’s headquarters built in the Mid Valley region.
Next week, the City of La Feria is expected to do the same. Once this happens, a letter will be sent jointly by the mayors of both cities to UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. The letter will include an offer from Mercedes and La Feria to donate a sizable portion of land bordering the Hidalgo-Cameron county line to the UT System for the establishment of UT-RGV’s administrative offices.
Mercedes City Manager Richard Garcia told the Guardian that the portion of land would be around 20 acres. He said it would be close to Interstate 2, Business 83 and the Hidalgo-Cameron county line.
“I believe that it’s a great opportunity for two Mid Valley communities to work in the spirit of regionalism and pursue a great project together. As we talk of regional cooperation, Mercedes and La Feria are truly engaged in promoting the spirit of cooperation,” Mercedes City Manager Richard Garcia told the Guardian.
The argument for putting the UT-RGV headquarters in the Mid Valley is that it would be roughly equidistant between the Brownsville and Edinburg campuses. Hernan Gonzalez, executive director of Mercedes Economic Development Corporation, told the Guardian that Mercedes and La Feria have a history of collaboration and of thinking of the region as a whole. “It is easy to talk about regionalism but much harder to put it into practice.” Gonzalez also said that if the UT System chooses the La Feria-Mercedes proposal its regents would be assisting rural Texas.
Here is the motion passed unanimously by the City of Mercedes:
WHEREAS, the City of Mercedes commends the Texas Legislature and the University of Texas System for the establishment of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley that will be comprised of the University of Texas-Pan American, the University of Texas-Brownsville, and a new four-year medical school; and
WHEREAS, a major challenge for Texas Higher Education is to utilize its resources to transform rural Texas in order to participate in a 21st Century economy; and
WHEREAS, the City of Mercedes wishes to contribute its part to enable the UT System to carry out its plans for the establishment of the new university in the Rio Grande Valley; and
WHEREAS, the Mercedes Industrial Foundation, Inc., is a public instrumentality of the City of Mercedes that exists to support the city's economic development efforts; and
WHEREAS, the City Commission of the City of Mercedes has determined that the property owned by the Mercedes Industrial Foundation bordering the Hidalgo-Cameron County boundary site would be an ideal location for the new UT-RGV Administrative Offices (and potentially the Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development and the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science) because of its geographic central location in the Rio Grande Valley; and
WHEREAS, investments in higher educational institutions are recognized in Texas as eligible economic development activities and projects; and
WHEREAS, the Development Corporation of Mercedes, Inc., has voted unanimously to endorse and support this project, and
WHEREAS, the City of La Feria wishes to make available future property in La Feria in Cameron County for expansion of the UT-RGV Administrative Offices; and
WHEREAS, a partnership between the City of Mercedes and the City of La Feria is advisable to present an effective joint proposal of land in Hidalgo and Cameron County that would enable the UT System to establish the UT-RGV Administrative Offices immediately and plan for expansion as needed; and
WHEREAS, the UT vision of being transformed will be more clearly evident on these two visionary communities; and
WHEREAS, the City of Mercedes will work jointly to provide the necessary infrastructure to the site; and
WHEREAS a partnership between the City of Mercedes and the City of La Feria offer the best location for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley headquarters and other ancillary services;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY OF COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF MERCEDES:
Section 1: The Mercedes City Commission and Mercedes Industrial Foundational hereby authorize the Mayor and City Manager to submit the offer of the property bordering the Hidalgo-Cameron County boundary to the UT System; and
Section 2: This resolution shall take effect immediately upon its passage.
Passed, approved and adopted on this the 21st day of January, 2014
City of Mercedes
Mercedes Industrial Foundation
Alfredo Hinojosa, Jr.
Attested by Arcelia L. Felix, city secretary