|WESLACO, May 16 - The City of Weslaco and the Economic Development Corporation of Weslaco have submitted separate bids to land the UT-Rio Grande Valley administrative headquarters.
The EDC’s proposal is to gift 21.67 acres of “infrastructure-ready” property to the UT System next to I-2. The City’s proposal is to offer city hall in downtown Weslaco as a “turn-key” option.
The deadline to respond to the UT System’s Request for Proposals was 5 p.m. on Thursday. Many Valley cities are thought to have submitted proposals, including Brownsville San Benito, Harlingen, Mercedes-La Feria, Weslaco, San Juan, Edinburg and McAllen. San Juan Economic Development Corporation confirmed its submission on Wednesday.
In a news release announcing brief details about the two proposals, Weslaco EDC stresses the advantages of placing the UT facility in the Mid Valley. The EDC calls Weslaco the Valley’s geographic center.
“Weslaco’s central location allows for a 20 to 30 minute drive to all campuses of the new university,” the news release states. “Weslaco’s logistical value has been recognized by private industry such as HEB when it located its Regional Distribution Center here. The Rio Grande Valley Partnership and the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council also call Weslaco home.”
The news release says Weslaco provides services to the entire Mid-Valley area with a population of over 100,000. “It is the trade area’s destination for health care (Knapp Medical Center), education (STC Mid-Valley Campus) and transportation (Weslaco Mid-Valley Airport). It is a growing center for public services such as the DPS Regional Headquarters, Hidalgo Co. Precinct 1 and other public offices.”
The news release says city leaders believe that Weslaco’s “geographically centered location in the Rio Grande Valley Metroplex” makes it the “ideal location” for UTRGV’s administration headquarters. “The quality of life amenities in Weslaco include a great historic downtown which celebrates the local music and art scene once a month and is home to award winning public and private schools. The central location of Weslaco allows for a quick 20 to 30 minute drive to all campuses of the new university as well as to quality of life necessities and South Padre Island. Within 15 minutes one can cross the border to enjoy unique shopping and the flavorful cuisine of northern Mexico.”
According to the news release, the Economic Development Corporation of Weslaco and the City of Weslaco have been working with private partners on the proposals on two competitive packages.
“The Interstate Proposal includes the gifting of 21.67 acres of infrastructure-ready property with adjacent room for growth to The University of Texas System. The site, which provides immediate access to Interstate Loop 2, is minutes away from first class dining, shopping, and parks and recreation facilities that include many national chains and local businesses. Weslaco’s Mid Valley Regional Airport, the largest general aviation airport south of San Antonio, is only five minutes away from the proposed site,” the news release states.
“Alternatively, the Downtown Proposal would provide City Hall as a turn-key option that would permit UT-RGV to be actively involved in a dynamic, urbanizing community in the Rio Grande Valley’s center.”
The news release concludes by saying the EDCW and the City of Weslaco are “very excited for the opportunity to welcome The University of Texas System to their city and look forward to the university’s announcement in the future.”