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BROWNSVILLE, RGV – Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation has announced a $550,000 investment for Brownsville Sports Park.

Josh Mejia, outreach coordinator for BCIC, said the investment aligns with the non-profit’s new three-year strategic plan. Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, Brownsville Type B EDC.

“This investment is important for a variety reasons,” Mejia said. “Primarily we are focusing on the safety of athletes that are using the field. Second it is important to have a field that meets the requirements for sanctioned games across the nation and across the state. As a result, we feel this will give us the upper hand in being able to host various tournaments here and draw a crowd over to Brownsville, Texas.”

Mejia said BCIC’s mission is to deliver quality of life projects that can help foster economic development opportunities in Brownsville.

“We are trying to do a lot of the legwork right now in meeting with various groups and organizations to be able to implement strong business development programs. We are also giving time to focusing on downtown Brownsville, along with the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation. We are formalizing those strategic partnerships to be able to move forward strongly with the momentum we already have with our three-year strategic plan.”

Mejia was asked about a comment Rebeca Castillo, executive director of BCIC, made on a recent Rio Grande Guardian livestream on Facebook about Brownsville being the home of soccer. A number of Brownsville high schools have won state championship trophies for soccer.

“Rebeca is correct. We do have a good advantage when it comes to soccer tournaments. A lot of high schools here in Brownsville have reached state finals and have actually won through their UIL competition. Along with that, just being able to have a field at the sports park that meets the requirements for UIL is huge. We are now able to host those tournaments here, and not just soccer, but football as well. We will be meeting the requirements for those sanctioned sports games.”

Asked if Brownsville could one day be home to a professional soccer team, Mejia said: “That is up in the air. We are taking our time to research what other cities have been doing. Right now, our executive director is in Plano receiving some training and also seeing their fields over there. We look forward to being able to present some sort concrete plan, some feasibility study, so we can proceed with something like that.”

Mejia added: “Brownsville has a great geographical advantage for recreation. We have birding and eco-tourism, we are very strong in the Active Plan the City of Brownsville is pushing. Now, the City has a memorandum of understanding for the Active Plan with Cameron County. This is a very huge plus.”

Three-Year Economic Development Strategic Plan

BCIC’s board of directors adopted its 3-Year Economic Development Strategic Plan on May 15. Mejia pointed out that prior to the meeting, BCIC board directors and staff underwent various workshops and collected feedback from various stakeholders to develop the plan, which runs from 2017 to 2020.

Mejia said the plan will primarily focus on the ongoing development of sports and recreational tourism as well as small businesses in order to generate economic development opportunities within Brownsville.

He said the primary focus was derived from evaluating the city of Brownsville’s features, areas of opportunity, stakeholder feedback and current BCIC assets. “Collaborative partnerships will strongly be encouraged to ensure Brownsville, Texas becomes a destination city,” he said.

Castillo said the development and adoption of the plan was a “tremendous accomplishment” for BCIC and the city of Brownsville as a whole. “We look forward into executing this plan with the invested interest we share with various organizations to see our city grow,” Castillo said.

Tino Villarreal, chairman of the BCIC board of directors, said: “As we continue to move forward with the Three-Year Strategic Plan, we hope to supplement and facilitate the ongoing impact the BCIC has with other entities involved in the forefront of economic development for the city of Brownsville. This plan will provide a defined direction on how we can create an even larger impact for the benefit of all who compile this forefront.”

Mejia added that the Three-Year Economic Strategic Plan is available online through BCIC’s website and in digital format through the group’s social media networks.

There's a lot going on in Brownsville. Find out about developments in the RGV's biggest city in a LIVE conversation with Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation Executive Director Rebeca Castillo. Have a question for her? Don't be shy, ask away in the comments!

Posted by Rio Grande Guardian on Friday, May 26, 2017