MCALLEN, Texas – McAllen community leader Nedra Kinerk cannot believe that the issue of broadband connectivity has not been addressed in her city’s Envision McAllen 2040 Comprehensive Plan. 

“Obviously we can’t have our youngsters going out to McDonald’s, or wherever, to do their homework. We need broadband,” Kinerk told the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service.

“If you don’t have broadband, you don’t have access to employment opportunities. You don’t have access to housing opportunities. Your children can’t do their homework. They don’t have access to all of the educational opportunities.”

According to McAllen city leaders, the new 143-page comprehensive plan “will help McAllen maintain its character, enhance the quality of life for residents and support economic development.”

McAllen City Commission officially adopted the plan at its May 22 meeting. But not before Kinerk, president of Futuro RGV, made her views known. Mayor Javier Villalobos asked if there were any members of the public that would like to speak about the plan. Kinerk, president of Futuro RGV, said she would. 

In her remarks, Kinerk said she liked the plan overall but said it was important that the city adopt new ordinances that take into account the ideas contained in the plan. If new ordinances were not passed, she said, the plan would be ineffectual, and just sit on a shelf gathering dust, just like the previous plan, adopted in 2007, did. 

However, while she liked the development plan overall, Kinerk said broadband connectivity should have been included. Kinerk told the Guardian she was speaking in her personal capacity not as president of Futuro RGV. 

Here are Kinerk’s remarks at the city commission meeting. McAllen City Planner Edgar Garcia introduces the topic:


After the city commission had adopted the plan Kinerk spoke with one of the architects of the plan, Chance Sparks of Freese & Nichols. Sparks was at the meeting.

“I spoke with the gentleman who did the Envision McAllen plan and he thanked me very much for my remarks. I guess he was a little surprised (I was so supportive),” Kinerk said. “I told him that we need to add broadband and that it’s just as important as electricity and other utilities. He agreed and he said he would be talking with Edgar Garcia. He (Sparks) said it can be added and it should be added.”

Garcia said that although the plan has now been officially adopted there is still an opportunity to add broadband. 

“So, this was a plan that was adopted today but at any time, if we want to change a policy, if we want to want to add or take away we can certainly do it,” Garcia said. 

Kinerk lives in McAllen. She said there are parts of the city that has good quality internet service and other parts that do not.

“It’s my understanding that north McAllen is pretty well taken care of. It’s my understanding that south McAllen is much less fortunate. And we need to address that issue.”

Editor’s Note: San Marcos-based Freeze & Nichols prepared the Envision McAllen 2040 Comprehensive Plan for the City of McAllen. Freese and Nichols, Inc. is an engineering, urban planning, and architecture firm that offers a wide range of services to public sector clients. According to the group’s website, the company focuses on “providing innovative approaches, practical results, and outstanding services” to its clients. “As a full-service consulting firm, we offer hundreds of specialty services. We take a holistic view of our clients’ challenges, providing tailored, advanced solutions and delivering exemplary plans, designs, and codes,” the website states.

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