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DONNA, RGV – Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, Inc., looks set to build a new truck stop in the Rio Grande Valley – on the southwest side of Hutto Road and I-2 in Donna.

An announcement has yet to be made because the company has yet to close on the purchase of the land. However, Love’s has requested and received approval from the City of Donna for a variance to the city’s signage ordinance.

Lyle Garza

Robert Escobar, Jr., planning director recommended approval of a variance to the City Sign Ordinance and Donna City Council unanimously supported the variance at its meeting on July 5. The property Love’s is close to purchasing is known as Lott, Town and Improvements Subdivision, Block 45, Hidalgo County, Texas.

“We can verify that Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores, Inc., was on the agenda this past Wednesday for approval of a variance to a sign permit,” said Lyle Garza, executive director of Donna Economic Development Corporation.

“We can’t verify that they have purchased the property but they have submitted applications to the City of Donna for a possible new Love’s Travel Stop. It is our understanding that they did some research and they were looking at different sites across the Valley. It seems they have chosen our location as their spot. They have requested the sign permit for the corner of Hutto Road and Expressway 2.”

Asked if Love’s decision to build in Donna was connected to the fact that the Donna-Rio Bravo International Bridge will soon be taking fully loaded trucks, Garza said: “Apparently it was very important because that was one of the points they wanted to discuss when they first started talking to us.”

In addition, the International Bridge Trade Corridor is being built by Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority from I-2 in Donna south to the county’s international bridges.

“In addition to the international bridge and IBTC, another factor is the proposed new State Highway 68. This would be located just half a mile from the Love’s site. Should Love’s decide to close on the new property and build their new truck stop, they would be the very first exit off of SH 68,” Garza said.

Asked what the reaction of Donna residents might be, should Love’s build a truck stop in their community, Garza said: “The community is going to be very excited. We are certainly very excited.”

Garza ran through some of the other big projects Donna EDC has been involved in.

“You know about the Shops at 493, which is well under construction, and the new water tower that is going right next to it. We have got Vera’s Meat Market, on Business 83, which just announced a month ago. They will be joining our community from Edinburg. Some other shopping plazas off of Business 83 and 493, Salinas Road, they are going to be joining our community as well.”

Garza pointed out that all these new developments are expanding Donna’s sales tax base.

“We were just having a meeting this morning and we were discussing it. From 2013 to 2017 our sales tax revenues have gone up from $1.9 million to a little over $3.1 million,” he said.

“That is how we operate.  We use the sales taxes to generate new jobs, to help us recruit new businesses into our area. It allows us to improve the roads and the very necessary infrastructure improvements that are needed here in Donna. We are very excited and grateful.”

Asked if he would like to say anything else about the Love’s truck stop development, Garza said: “No, other than Donna is open for business and we are pro-business. We would love to welcome any new business coming to town.”