MCALLEN, RGV – The City of McAllen has launched a storefront revitalization program to help small businesses along four of its commercial corridors. 

A similar program is in operation in downtown Weslaco and other Rio Grande Valley cities.

The goal of Refresh 50/50, McAllen city leaders said, is to stimulate and improve the physical, economic, and cultural vitality of McAllen’s most visited areas

The program will allow store owners to obtain up to $15,000 in matching grants in order to paint a building’s exterior, repair or remove old signs and awnings, install new doors and windows, install new lighting to enhance a storefront and add permanent landscaping.

The designated areas are:

  • 10th Street from Houston Avenue to Nolana Avenue;
  • U.S. Business 83, from McColl Road to 29th Street;
  • 23rd Street, from Idela Avenue to Pecan Boulevard
  • S. Ware Road, from Idela Avenue to Pecan Boulevard   

“As we go north, retail grows north and businesses grow north. So, I think some of our stores and businesses in the central part of the city need some help. As businesses grow north we want to make sure that they (businesses in the central part of McAllen) stay vital and employ people,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, during a presentation of the Refresh 50/50 program.

The presentation was held on the front lawn of McAllen City Hall. 

In a news advisory, the City of McAllen stated: 

“The City of McAllen is the premier retail shopping destination in South Texas and northern Mexico. While new shopping centers and big box retailers continue to land in McAllen, McAllen city leaders realize that small businesses are a critical component of the overall success of the community.

“A recently approved grant revitalization program for designated business corridors in McAllen will allow for businesses to apply for a matching grant of up to $15,000 through the McAllen Retail & Business Development Department. The goal of the newly established revitalization grant is to stimulate and improve the physical, economic, and cultural vitality of McAllen’s most visited areas.”

Mayor Darling likened McAllen to the City of Houston in that it has a large retail sector.

“When you think about it, you go to Houston and Westheimer is maybe eight miles of nothing but retail stores. When you start in McAllen, you start at Wichita in the south and you go all the way to Wisconsin in the north and there is nothing but retail stores and business. I don’t think any city literally in Texas that can match that.”

Michelle Rivera, an assistant city manager for McAllen, said the revitalization program may lead to new investments.

“This program is a win-win for the city of McAllen and for the local business community to help continue to grow and energize our local economy. This collaboration is important for McAllen because it keeps our community refreshed. which energizes not only our residents and visitors, but also encourages new and futures investors as well,” Rivera said.

Rebecca Olaguibel. director of McAllen retail and business development, said a website has been created to explain the new program. She said storeowners will be able to fill out an application for a grant via the website

“Everything you need to know about the grant is right there in the website, including the grant application. Fill it out, send it in and we will review it right here at the city hall. Hopefully you can get your project under way,” Olaguibel said. 

Funds will be reimbursed to clients upon completion. Projects must be approved by the City of McAllen prior to execution. Owners must be in good standing and have no pending municipal court cases with the City of McAllen.