ALTON, Texas – Municipal leaders in Alton say they were not surprised to see new Census data showing huge growth for their city.

According to Census 2020, Alton grew by 47.45 percent over the last ten years. During that time its population surpassed that of Mercedes and Donna, making it the 11th largest city in the Rio Grande Valley.

The 2010 Census pegged Alton at 12,341. Under Census 2020, the population is 18,198. That is an increase of 5,857.

“Regarding the new population numbers, we have seen the growth in real time so we are not surprised by the results of the Census,” said Alton City Manager Jeff Underwood.

“We are extremely happy to know that the effort we put into getting our citizens to take part in the Census was successful.”

Underwood said years ago Alton City Commission determined a new vision for the city.

“Our vision was that we would strive to deliver exceptional services that enhance the quality of life of our customers and that remains our vision today. I believe people are noticing the work our staff puts in to realize that vision and that has played a large part in the growth we have experienced,” Underwood said.

“Going forward, we will work diligently to continue to provide an environment where our citizens and businesses can be successful. Bring on Census 2030.”

RGV Partnership Commercialization and Investment Tour

Steve Peña, CEO of the City of Alton Development Corporation.

Real estate developers and investors visited Alton on a recent leg of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership’s monthly Commercialization and Investment Tour program. Steve Peña, CEO of the City of Alton Development Corporation, gave a powerpoint presentation that showed which properties are available to be developed.

“We are proud to have hosted this gathering of potential investors and realtors,” Peña told the Rio Grande Guardian.

“We like to make sure we utilize all our resources, leaving no stone unturned, to get the word out to the public and developers about out city. These properties we have available are gems. Once you are here you are going to see the atmosphere, you will see what we see on a day to day basis. This is the place to be. There is definitely growth and it is happening, whether it is commercial or residential. It is really just a great place to be.”

Peña said the “game-changer” for Alton will be the widening of Mile 5. 

“For us, Mile 5 the super game changer. As a smaller community you definitely struggle to entice… you do not have a whole lot of money to give in incentives like the bigger communities do… so, to bring on something like this, you can attract the bigger franchises. To have all that infrastructure in place, that offsets the costs to a lot of these developers, commercial developers, residential developers.”

Peña was interviewed before the Census 2020 numbers came out. He said he was expecting the new data to reflect what he and his colleagues have been witnessing over the last ten years.

“We are seeing all the growth with all the permits we were giving out on the residential side,” Peña said. “And developers know the rooftops are here, they are seeing the projections. We have viable projects, prime property that is ready for development. And at this juncture you can still get it at a very good price. That is why it is time for developers to pay us a visit.”

Editor’s Note: The Rio Grande Guardian produced a video a few years back about the City of Alton’s rapid growth:

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