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Mayor Richard H. García gave credit where credit is due during his State of the City Address at Edinburg Municipal Auditorium on Wednesday, May 27. He praised his fellow Edinburg City Councilmembers, the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, City Manager Ramiro Garza, Jr., EEDC Executive Director Agustín “Gus” García, Jr. (no relation), and the hundreds of professionals who make up the staffs in city government and at the EEDC, which is the jobs-creation arm of the mayor and city council. Among the big news soon to be announced, the mayor said, “is the La Sienna Commercial Development, a 200-acre fully-developed property (in north Edinburg) that will include shopping, dining, and residential development designed as a destination style mix-use complex, plus an additional 300 acres of fully-developed land zoned with utilities for residential purposes.” Featured, from left, are EEDC staff members Diego Reyna, Letty Reyes, Agustín “Gus” García, Jr., Mayor García; Nelda Ramírez, Dalila Razo, and Laura Lee Vela.

EDINBURG, RGV – Major projects taking place in Edinburg was a key issue addressed by Mayor Richard García at his annual State of the City speech on Wednesday morning.

At the top of the list, García officially announced the city’s upcoming 40 acre, 8,500 seat soccer venue in conjunction with Tampa-based United Soccer League.

What the mayor described as a multi-purpose development that will feature a sports venue, fairgrounds, and space for outdoor events will be a facility separate from the upcoming Bert Ogden Arena being built on the corner of Alberta and I-69 Central.

The Bert Odgen arena will also include 8,500 seats, expandable to 10,000. Live Nation has already been contracted as the promoter for the arena’s future events.

“…All attracting economic tourism to the City of Edinburg,” the mayor said in his speech. “Tourism means more hotel stays, more restaurants, and more quality of life venues for our community. Several announcements will be made soon in connection with new hotels.”

The information given by the mayor in his speech included at least two new high end hotels in Edinburg. One those planned is a new full-service hotel across the street from the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley located on W. University Drive. At least 120 rooms are planned, along with a restaurant, bar, conference room and meeting space.

Another major hotel is being planned on Trenton Road. Construction of the Marriot TownePlace Suites will be opening adjacent to the Hidalgo County Appraisal District offices. That hotel will be 100-plus room extended stay building, the mayor said.

“The Marriot will include a bar and lounge, where patrons can conduct business meetings and wind down after a long day at work,” the mayor said in his speech. “This will be a first of its kind design for Marriot customers with new bedroom and kitchen design and all amenities, designed to please even the most discerning traveler.”

The hotels are in addition to a new high-end apartment complex near City Hall. That complex will include 61 units, 243 beds and 93,000 square feet of space located within walking distance to UT-RGV.

That housing complex and the entire community will be further boosted by the official announcement of the upcoming multi-use transit facility, which will be located adjacent to the apartment building. The transit facility is a project being created in conjunction with the City of Edinburg, EDC and Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council, which helped secure a $2.7 million federal grant to begin its construction.

The transit facility will be serviced by Valley Metro, and construction is slated to start in a few months, according to the mayor.

“The entire area surrounding the university has come of age,” García said. “Today, college students as well as visitors and residents have more to choose from when it comes to shopping, eating or just having fun. Our goal for this area is for it to mirror other UT college communities where students and faculty can find everything they need in a central location.”

Also taking place this summer in Edinburg, the city will finally welcome the start of operations for Santana Textiles, which has been in the planning, design and construction phase since 2008.

The Edinburg EDC and Santana will host a job fair in June in order to hire 300 employees for manufacturing and administrative positions.

“Santana Textiles will complete construction, and begin their spinning operation this summer,” García said.

Overall, the mood of the State of the City speech was positive, and possibly with good reason.

Edinburg’s unemployment rate for April 2015 was 4.6 percent, representing the third consecutive month that the city posted a monthly rate under five percent, slightly trailing behind McAllen’s rate at 4.5 percent.

The figure was the best showing for the city since April 2008, when it was reported at four percent by the state agency.

Edinburg’s April 2015 unemployment rate of 4.6 percent remained close to the Texas statewide average, which was four percent for April 2015, 4.2 percent for March 2015, 4.3 percent for February 2015, and 4.6 percent for January 2015, according to Texas Workforce Commission.

The city’s latest performance also was better than the U.S. unemployment rate for April 2015, which was 5.4 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We believe we are on the right track to make this the best city that it can be for you and your families,” García said in his speech. “Our goal is to make Edinburg even more desirable, not only to college students but to families and entrepreneurs looking for a proven location where one can live, get a good education, get a high paying job, and open up a business that will meet the needs of the community with the expectation of being successful.”