The Commercial and Investment Tour of Edinburg, Texas, was hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership, the Valley’s regional chamber of commerce. The main sponsors were Atlas Electrical Air Conditioning, Refrigeration & Plumbing, Sames Engineering. Coldwell Banker Commercial, and VTX 1 Companies.
EDINBURG, Texas – Wrapping up a short powerpoint presentation about the growth of Edinburg, assistant city manager Brian Kelsey said he hoped nobody minded that he bragged a little.
Kelsey, Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina, and Edinburg City Manager Ron Garza had a lot to brag about, as they cited figures from the 2020 Census. But, as the old saying goes, it ain’t bragging if it’s true.
“We are the fastest growing city in the Rio Grande Valley. From 2010 to 2020 we grew 30 percent growth,” said Garza. “We are going gangbusters, in terms of growth. We are really proud of that.”
One of the slides in the powerpoint presentation showed Edinburg to be the 12th fastest growing city in the nation with a population over 100,000, and the sixth fastest growing in Texas. It is also the fastest growing the Rio Grande Valley.
Garza said the city administration has adopted a new motto: “We are growing fast, but we are growing smart.” He said the key was to keep new infrastructure projects sustainable while the growth is underway.
“This city has a tremendous amount of fixed assets that cannot go anyplace else,” he said.
The Edinburg leaders made their remarks to an audience of real estate developers and investors ahead of a 55-mile bus tour of their city. The event, titled the Edinburg Commercial and Investment Tour, was hosted by the Rio Grande Valley Partnership. RGVP hosts one of these per month in different cities throughout the Valley.
In his remarks, Mayor Molina said Edinburg City Council has put together an excellent administration.
“I believe we have put the right team in place to run the operation. Being the mayor, you do not have to be the smartest man in the room, or the most educated in the room. But you have to be able to recruit talent,” Molina said.
“Let’s start with Ron Garza. I don’t think we give this guy enough credit for the job he has done in a short period of time. We have endured a pandemic, a hurricane and a freeze, all within a 12-month period. Talk about being thrown in the fire, in terms of emergency management.”
Molina then took a closer look at his city’s population growth.
“From 2018 to 2019 we had 2,200 people move to the city. Something good is happening here. What I can tell you is, there is this thing I keep hearing. People want to party in McAllen but they want to live in Edinburg,” Molina said.
“They want to live here. So, I do not know if there is something in the water, or what it is going on. But it is something special.”
Molina pointed out that he serves on the RGV Metropolitan Planning Organization, which serves as a conduit for federal transportation dollars coming to the Valley.
“I could see the envy in their other mayors’ faces when Edinburg went to 100,000 and became two votes on the MPO. We are the only city in the entire RGV that gained an extra vote,” Molina said, proudly.
“Now, the City of Edinburg and the City of McAllen has identical votes. For every 50,000 people you have, you have one vote. To me, that puts us right on the map. Because, you have our big brother over there, towards the island, Brownsville. You have our other brother, which we are going to pass in the next couple of years, McAllen. And then you have Edinburg.”
Molina said Edinburg’s decisions on where and how to invest in new infrastructure was entirely data-driven. “Our residents love what is happening here,” he said.
Molina added: “For those of you coming here to Edinburg, I encourage you to move here soon. If you have a business that is not in Edinburg, I encourage you to move here soon.”
In his remarks, assistant city manager Kelsey said he has spent most of his career in Austin and Nashville, two of the fastest growing large cities in the country. He said he analyzes demographic data all the time. Nonetheless, he said even he was surprised at what the data on Edinburg showed.
“This was surprising for me. We are the 12th fastest growing city of those with 100,000 people in the country, which is truly remarkable. We had two annexations in the last ten years. Even if you subtract the annexations, we still grew twice as fast as the city of Pharr. So, do not let anybody tell you it was just the annexations. We are by far the fastest growing city in the Valley and the 12th fastest growing city in the country with at least 100,000 residents. It is truly remarkable,” Kelsey said.
One of the slides showed the number of permits issued for new homes. Edinburg is permitting more new homes than any other large city in Hidalgo County. From Jan. 2019 to Sept. 2021 it permitted 2,899. “About half of those permits are detached single family. It is a truly remarkable story,” Kelsey said.
Editor’s Note: Blanca Davila, the City of Edinburg’s director of economic development, has provided the Rio Grande Guardian with a document showing the growth of Edinburg and its investment opportunities in more detail. Click here to view the document.
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