MISSION, RGV – Killam Development, Able City and Dover, Kohl & Partners have announced the times and dates of the public design workshops for their 3,400-acre Shary Plantation master-planned project.

Fifteen events are being staged between Monday, Jan. 13, and Friday, Jan. 17, 2020, at the Mission Economic Development Corporation’s Center for Education and Economic Development.

“This place will become our design studio,” said Mario A. Peña, partner and principal at Able City, referencing the CEED. “Come in and chat. There are so many opportunities to interact with the design team.”

Working with Able City and Dover, Kohl & Partners, Killam Development wants the general public to help design their master-planned project on the Shary Plantation.

Shary Plantation
Part of the Shary Plantation acquired by Killam Development from Hunt Development.

According to its website, Able City is “a family of professional architects, urbanists and designers bound together by our shared passions for making places that people can thrive in.”

The company has offices in Laredo and San Antonio. “We are driven by the desire to improve the quality of life, not only the citizens of today but the citizens of the following generations,” the website states.

Able City’s Peña spoke at a recent news conference at the CEED building. It was held to announce Killam’s acquisition of 3,400 acres from on the Shary Plantation from Hunt Valley Development.

“We are very excited to work with the Killam family and the Mission and McAllen community,” Peña said, predicting the Shary Plantation project “could have a profound impact both immediately and for future generations.”

Peña said is “really important” that the Shary Planation project is designed with the local community in mind.

“At Able City we are guided by the words of urbanist Jane Jacobs, who said: ‘Cities have the capability of providing something for everyone only because and only when they are created by everybody,” Peña said.

“So, we will focus much of our efforts into embedding this community’s values into the design. Together with residents of the area, city officials, architects, engineers, park and recreational officials, nonprofits and advocacy groups, and other stakeholders, we will be planning out this vision.”

Peña said Able City would have a team of engineers, designers, architects, planners, and economic advisors on hand for the public design workshops.

“We will invite the public to participate in brain-storming sessions, hands-on activities, and focus group discussions,” Peña said.

“The master plan vision will come together through the week while continually bring the public to check up on our progress, to make sure we are headed in the right direction. The feedback loop is critical. We treat the public like they are our clients. We go through different design iterations with them.”

Peña said it was crucial that the project plan “captures the values and needs of the community.”

He added: “We have found this approach yields places that are much more than a place where your house is located. It can be place where the context around you contributes to your quality of life just as much as your home does.”

Here is the schedule for the week of public design workshops at the CEED:

Monday, Jan. 13:

2-3 p.m.

Community Conversation: Housing Options

How do we choose where to live? What options do we have, and, most importantly, what other options would we like?

4-5 p.m.

Community Conversation: Arts and Culture

Come learn how all of the places you have always wanted to live in or visit have one thing in common. Here’s your chance to tell the team what you think will enhance art and culture within the community.

6:30 p.m.

Kick-off: Hands-on Design!

After a quick introduction, we sit together to discuss how you think Sharyland should grow.

Tuesday, Jan. 14:

2-8 p.m.

Open Studio

Drop by anytime and join the conversation. Share with the team what your perfect city looks like.

2-3 p.m.

Community Conversation: Health and Wellness

The environment around guys shapes our daily activities as well as the access we have to parks, trails, healthy food, and services. Here’s your chance to get a first-hand look at how town planning can make it easier to live healthier lives!

4-5 p.m.

Community Conversation: Child-Friendly Design

Children are invited to attend! We want to hear from them and their parents. “What does your perfect city look like?”

Wednesday, Jan. 15:

2-6 p.m.

Open Studio

Drop by anytime and join the conversation. Share with the team what your perfect city looks like.

2-3 p.m.

Community Conversation: Design for All Stages of Life

Your city should be a place you can enjoy and experience at any age. Baby boomers and Millenials have more in common than they think!

4-5 p.m.

Community Conversation: Young Professionals

Young entrepreneurs are defining the growth of our cities. What do we need to make this a desirable place to live in and invest in? Join the conversation in an open forum discussion with the planning team – everyone is invited to participate!

6:30 p.m.

Open-Studio Evening!

The many ideas you brought to the table will start to materialize in a draft decent that will be presented as part of the Sharyland Town Planning. This is the first step toward building a stronger community and shaping our town.

Thursday, Jan. 16:

2-3 p.m.

Community Conversation: Mobility

How do we get around during our day-to-day activities is a critical element in town planning. The types of mobility options we have access to as a community and how our streets are designed directly affect the way we live, how connected we are, and how safe our streets are.

2-6 p.m.

Open Studio

Drop by anytime and join the conversation. Share with the team what your perfect city looks like.

Friday, Jan. 17:

2-3 p.m.

Focus Group: Border Relations and Improvements

One of the most unique characteristics of our town is defined by our border. Culture and trade, among others, are just a few items that can help define our growth!

4-5 p.m.

Focus Growth: Environment and Green Space

Parks, plazas, and trails are a few examples of how our environment can enhance our surroundings, making this a crucial part of town planning.

6:30 p.m.

Final Presentation (your work in progress)

This session will give you a chance to see the fruits of our labor and how Sharyland can be the perfect place to live, work, play, and grow!

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows Mario A. Peña, partner and principal at Able City, holding aloft a flyer for next month’s public design workshops.

Editor’s Note: The above story is the fourth in a Five Part series about Killam Development’s plans for its part of the Shary Plantation. Click here to read and listen to Part One. Click here to read Part Two. Click here to read Part Three. Part Five, featuring the analysis of Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña, will be posted in our next edition.