MCALLEN, Texas – The new president of McAllen Chamber of Commerce is ready to meet with City of Hidalgo officials to see how his organization can help promote tourism in Hidalgo’s historic downtown.
Josh Mejia gave an overview of his plans for the McAllen Chamber when he spoke at a recent luncheon hosted by the McAllen Citizens League. During a Q&A after his presentation, Mejia was asked if he could help the City of Hidalgo.
Hidalgo has some of the oldest and most historic buildings in Hidalgo County and new boutique stores and restaurants are popping up around these buildings. The only thing missing, according to Hidalgo Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Prisciliano “J.R.” Treviño, are tourists. Mejia said he wants to help.
“I’ve seen those (historic) sites. They (Hidalgo EDC’s leadership) haven’t reached out to me yet, but I’d be more than happy to entertain them,” Mejia said, at the Citizens League event.
“We sometimes live in a chasm where we think that we have everything but we don’t, right, and if we can leverage our resources there’s always a benefit for it. We don’t have to recreate a historical asset. But we can leverage what they have.”
Mejia said the historical buildings the City of Hidalgo possess are likely a good case study on how McAllen can help its neighbors.
“I think it’s a good case study for us to apply for a bunch of other assets that surround us, not just in Hidalgo County but also in Cameron County, in Starr County and in Willacy. We have to start somewhere, right, and then it just starts expanding and bubbling up to encompass everything else.”
By way of an example, Mejia said he had just met with the new director of South Padre Island Convention & Visitors Bureau.
“As a matter of fact, the new director of the SPI CVB was just here. That’s the reason why I was about a minute late. But I actually thanked him for taking the initiative to come over to McAllen to see us, to see all the departments, to see what we have. He is brand new, so if you seen him just give him that warm McAllen welcome, because I’m sure that’s going to trigger him to have a much deeper relationship with us to promote regionalism.
With regard to the City of Hidalgo’s historic buildings, Mejia had seen a story about them in the Rio Grande Guardian International News Service. In the story, Treviño, the Hidalgo EDC chief, suggested a shuttle service from the McAllen hotels surrounding the city’s convention center to the city of Hidalgo’s historic district.
That way, all the visiting business men and women who are at a loose end following their conventions can see some historic local attractions.
A tour of the historic district of Hidalgo would incorporate a visit to the famous Hidalgo Pumphouse, the old county courthouse and county jail, and the numerous boutique stores and restaurants that have sprung up in recent years.
The idea of the bus rides, first proposed by Rio Grande Guardian International News Service editor Steve Taylor, has gained the support not only of Treviño but also Marie Garcia, public relations manager for SAMES Engineering and a board member of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership.
“We’re at a point where we’re starting to go back into the tourism aspect of our city, trying to draw people, not just from the city of Hidalgo, from our 14,000 community members here. We’re trying to draw people from McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville. Edinburg, Rio Grande City, even all the way from San Antonio,” Treviño said.
“So, I think when when people stay at the McAllen hotels we can all work together and try to draw people to all our different towns but especially here to Hidalgo.”
Treviño explained his ideas on how to bring more tourists to Hidalgo at an Investment & Commercialization Tour organized by the RGV Partnership.
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