The city of Peñitas is hoping to move forward with a long-gestating project that could alleviate traffic in the area while also providing a new home for its city hall and police station.
The Diamond Avenue expansion project began last year to expand the intersection of Business 83 and Expressway 83 to connect with Diamond Avenue, the street behind Peñitas’s Wal-Mart, the city’s mayor, Rodrigo “Rigo” Lopez, said.
The project, which currently carries a price tag of $4 million, will come fully equipped with infrastructure for drainage and water services, Lopez said.
In a phone interview Wednesday, using a quote from a popular movie, the mayor said the project could attract new businesses into the city.
“The motto is ‘If you build it they will come,’” Lopez said. “We have to take that risk to invest in something so big and attract big name stores for more business in the area. We have to show to other businesses we want them here and we’re fully invested in development of this area.”
Lopez said the project is a partnership between the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone and its Economic Development Corporation. Both organizations have applied for loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help pay for the project, he said.
“We’re shooting to start seeing dirt moving this summer and we’re looking at building the new city hall and police station in that same vicinity,” Lopez said. “We’re currently sitting with the engineer firm ESJ Group finalizing designs to start construction. Diamond Avenue and the new city hall has been our main focus these last few months so being this close to a start has us excited. We want to prepare this area for our future so we want to ensure we’re ready for new businesses.”
Other projects the city is working on include parking lot improvements to the public library and city hall, new street lights for the Tierra Blanca subdivision and a new fire truck and equipment for the city fire department, City Manager Omar Romero said.