MCALLEN, Texas – Environmentalist Geoffrey Alger would have liked to have had as big an opportunity to discuss the rezoning of Green Jay Park with McAllen city commissioners as Zoho Corporation did.
“I wish I could take you guys out to dinner like you went out with Zoho,” Alger said, during a debate at McAllen City Hall. Following more than two hours of debate McAllen city commissioners voted to rezone Green Jay Park, moving it from “agricultural-open space” to “light industrial.” The reclassification is likely to allow tech giants Zoho to build a 90-acre campus on the park.
Alger lives close to Green Jay Park and knows it well. He says his research shows it goes back millennia.
“The connection to McAllen itself goes back to early 20th Century when McAllen was first founded. Our founders were going out to Lake Concepcion for religious gatherings, for social gatherings, for picnics, for swimming, for all kinds of things. And that continued on through the mid-20th Century, until it went into private hands,” Alger said.
“In 1968, the City of McAllen bought 238 acres for the Palm View Golf Course, for public purposes. That existed until 1995 when Ware Road cut through and went to Military Highway.”
Alger said Green Jay Park “went into limbo” until 2015.
“For ten years, I personally was working, pushing to make that property into a park because I was so familiar with that property. I knew it had a lake on it. I know it has rolling hills. I know it has lots of trees. And it’s a completely unique piece of property in the city of McAllen. There’s nothing else like it. That’s why Zoho wants it. You want to turn a public accessible park that has a tradition of public service for recreation and you want to give it to a company, a private company that’s going to turn it into a private park for their private consumption. And that’s ridiculous.”
Here are Alger’s remarks in full, along with those of two others opposed to Green Jay Park being rezoned.
Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above audio story shows McAllen environmentalist Geoffrey Alger. (Photo copyright: Madison Girault/RGG)
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