Mission city leaders celebrated the completion of the Conway Streetscape project with a ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday.
Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas said the city rebuilt the Bryan Road and U.S. 83 intersection, and “it’s a beautiful project,” but he didn’t get nearly the response he received from the work on Conway.
“Almost everybody is happy about having this renovation,” Salinas said. “You see it at night. It’s done so much for our community, and it’s given the business owners some energy to continue working hard and taking care of their customers.”
The project originally was scheduled to finish in November, but weather delays have pushed the completion date back. The $2.5 million initiative reconstructed sidewalks from First to 14th Streets with pavers and placed benches, planters and palm trees along Conway.
About $1.9 million was funded through a grant from the Federal Transit Administration, and the remainder was funded through the Mission Redevelopment Authority. Daniel Silva, CEO of the MRA, said the project came in under budget, but the city is still working on final totals.
Richard Hernandez, president of the MRA Board, pointed out for every local $1 invested in the project, it received $4 in federal money.
“Thank you guys for the patience in the construction phase,” Hernandez said. “We know it caused a lot of chaos, but the result, I can see, is beautiful.”
The project encouraged local business owners to spruce up their own buildings to keep up with the downtown facelift. Alex Meade, CEO of the Mission Economic Development Council offered merchants $3,000 in non-matching funds and up to $10,000 if the businesses matched the funding. Out of $150,000 invested in the buildings on Conway, $50,000 came from the merchants themselves, Meade said.
“Mission is a growing community and downtown is vital for any growing community,” he said.
City Manager Martin Garza said the project is a perfect example of teamwork. Several organizations already have asked to put banners on poles erected at the beginning and end of the project.
Work on Tatan Rodriguez Park, on First Street, is ongoing, Garza said. Part of the Conway Streetscape project included plans for a splash pad at the park, but the city also has a grant to put in benches, sidewalks and lighting at the park. It should be finished in time for summer.
“This is going to be an improvement that’s going to facilitate not only the merchants, but also people that come and visit the city of Mission who can walk the streets and be able to enjoy the landscaping, be able to enjoy the shopping here in Mission,” Garza said.