MISSION, RGV – Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña says Killam Development’s decision to purchase 3,400 acres on the Shary Plantation will help his efforts to get the Madero International Bridge built.
The farmland acquired from Hunt Valley Development abuts the Anzalduas International Bridge. The Anzalduas bridge is less than a mile from where the Madero bridge is slated to be built. Madero is set to include truck traffic and a railroad.
Killam plans to build industrial parks next to Anzalduas bridge. Asked if Killam’s purchase of the 3,400 acres helps his cause, O’Caña told the Rio Grande Guardian:
“Definitely, especially when we start getting the conceptualization picture of the (Killam) industrial park. I am going to use that to connect to Mexico, for the railroad. That will spark an opportunity for us to be able to work harder on the project.”
The presidential permit to build Madero ends in 2012. Asked if Mission city leaders had given up hope of building the bridge, O’Caña said:
“No, no, no, no. In fact, it expires in 2021 but we are already working with Hidalgo County Regional Mobility Authority. We are entering into an agreement to begin the environmental (studies) and to begin to acquire some of the construction permits.”
O’Caña pointed out that the State Department wants the City of Mission to have started work on the bridge by 2021.
“In order to construct you have got to get construction permits so, that will give the State Department an opportunity to look and see that we did the feasibility study, that we did the environmental study and that we are acquiring the right of way. We have already acquired 100 acres for the GSA.”
GSA stands for the General Services Administration. It oversees development issues at land ports of entry.
“The next one is the environmental study, which we are going to enter into an agreement with them (HCRMA). And now the construction permits,” O’Caña said. “That shows the arrow we are headed towards and I estimate that by 2027 we will be ribbon-cutting for the railroad crossing.”
In addition to Killam’s acquisition of land within the Shary Plantation providing a boost to the Madero project, O’Caña said congressional support for the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement would also help.
“The feasibility studies say that by 2036 all bridges from Brownsville to Laredo are going to be at max. We cannot wait to begin construction. We need the Madero bridge.”
On a related point, O’Caña said the City of Mission is developing the Mission Citrus Express route, connecting the international bridge to the downtown bus station.
Asked for his reaction to the news that Killam had acquired 3,400 acres of Shary Plantation land from Hunt Valley Development, O’Caña said:
“As mayor, I am thrilled. This is a great development coming into Mission. It will have everything, industrial parks, retail, restaurants, residential. And residential means more people. If you bring in more people that means they are going to be spending money in the city of Mission. But, not only Mission. It is a win-win situation for McAllen and us together, as we are next to each other, and also for the county of Hidalgo.”
O’Caña said he is particularly impressed with Killam’s vision and longterm commitment to the Mission-McAllen area. “We have talked about a ten year plan. With the master plan, they said that was just the beginning. You can tell the future is here.”
The Rio Grande Guardian asked Mayor O’Caña to react to comments from Daniel Silva, Mission Economic Development Corporation’s executive director. Silva said Killam’s plans for the Shary Plantation could mean a spurt in growth in Mission equal to that seen in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“A lot of that growth started with the Hunt Development. That was our anchor for growth. In any business model, you always have to have an anchor. When the anchor slows down the city slows down. But in this case, Killam is the new anchor. They have a new vision, a new future, and a great opportunity for everybody.”
Editor’s Note: The above story is the fifth in a Five Part series on the Killam Development project on the Shary Plantation. Click here to read and listen to Part One. Click here to read Part Two. Click here to read Part Three. Click here to read Part Four.