SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas – Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., says a proposal from one of his predecessors to build an arena on South Padre Island is not viable.
Former Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos has been vocal in his opposition to building an arena as part of the Madeira master planned project on the corner of I-69 East and State Highway 100. Instead, said Cascos, such an arena should be built on SPI.
Voters will decide on the Cameron County Arena project in the Saturday, May 7, elections.
In an exclusive interview with Ron Whitlock Reports, Treviño said Cascos’ idea has already been considered by Cameron County Commissioners Court and deemed not viable.
“Perhaps he (Cascos) has not been to the island any time in the recent past but now it is bumper to bumper in the evenings,” Treviño said. “One of the issues we want to address with the location is to avoid that delay in getting to and from a particular concert.”
Treviño said even if a second causeway was up and running there could still, potentially, be bumper to bumper traffic. He also noted that concert goers from Brownsville, Harlingen, and the upper Rio Grande Valley would have further to travel if an arena were built on SPI.
“We are trying to create it so that it is quicker to get to these events, not delay it and make it even longer,” Treviño said.
Another key point, Treviño said, is that getting the necessary approval to build an arena on SPI would take longer because “permitting on wet lands is more difficult.”
In his interview, Treviño made the case for a “yes” vote on the arena proposition. He said that because of the arena’s proximity to SPI, “we have an opportunity to really set up and create an arena project that it is going to be very, very unique and have a drawing card that other areas both locally and around the state just don’t have and that is our proximity to South Padre Island.”
Treviño also pointed out that the developer of the Madeira Texas Living project is donating the land for the arena.
“The master planned development has major hotels palled for the area, major retail, restaurants, bars and residential development,” he said.
Treviño also reassured Cameron County home owners that their property taxes would not be paying for the proposed arena.
“The county’s portion is coming via a hotel/motel tax or venue or visitor tax,” Treviño said, explaining that it would be a similar venture, finance-wise, to the Isla Blanca Amphitheater on SPI and the South Texas Eco-Tourism Center at Laguna Vista.
“Both of those projects are up and running and I think we have shown we are good stewards in utilizing and taking care of these public funds. We will not be utilizing general fund or property tax revenues for this particular project.”
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