After years of developing the Palmview wastewater project, and months of tension between the city and the Agua Special Utility District, both entities have been working together for the last few months to ensure the project will be completed without a hitch.
That was the message representatives from both entities shared during a Wednesday press conference where Agua SUD and Palmview announced they expected the ongoing wastewater project, and the street paving project, to be completed within three months.
“We’re a bit delayed due to weather and other unforeseen circumstances but it’s finally here after five years of planning, meeting, organizing, quarreling, laughing and crying through it all,” Palmview Mayor Ricardo “Ricky” Villarreal said. “We all believe in this, when you have good intentions, good things come out. Better days are coming to Palmview.”
The wastewater project-which will create a sewer system connecting 1,900 residents and 100 businesses to the Mission Water Plant-first broke ground in 2017 after years of discussions in the city.
As part of the project, which requires 20 miles worth of streets in the city to be dug up by crews contracted by the Agua Special Utility District to lay down sewer lines all over the city-Palmview began repaving the streets last summer. The project has frustrated residents who have been complaining about the status of the streets in the city since the project first started.
“These are growing pains but good things will come out of this,” Palmview Mayor Pro-tem Joel Garcia said. “We have something close to a completion date and we want to let the people know we do care. We are concerned with what your vehicles are driving through and what your kids go through as they wait for the bus, but good things will come out of this. At the end we will have businesses come in and growth because of this project.”
As a sign of transparency Agua SUD General Manager Jose “Eddie” Saenz announced that Agua and city of Palmview websites will release a preliminary schedule with a timeline of when all the streets in the city will begin being paved and their expected completion date of paving.
The schedule is expected to be completed by Thursday to be distributed within the end of the week, Saenz said.
Saenz reflected on the status of the relationship between both cities which was at a different place a few months ago.
Last year, in an attempt to spur commercial development on the Expressway 83 Frontage road, the city started building their own sewer system without permission from the utility district.
When the utility district complained about the project, Palmview filed a lawsuit.
As previously reported, the litigation was ultimately dropped last January after Garcia and utility board President Esequiel “Zeke” Ortiz Jr., who represents Palmview customers, began meeting informally to mend fences.
“The elected officials started talking with each other over the year and realized these are things we can do together or else we could never move forward with this project,” Saenz said. “Zeke reached out to them and we started having several one on one meetings. We’re glad they made the effort to do this.”
Garcia, who noted that both parties have been having meetings every two weeks to discuss the status of the wastewater project, said an open line of communication between both parties was important to show a united front for the public.
“Now a bridge has been created to help continue these open lines of communication with Agua and Palmview,” Garcia said. “It’s best for the community, we’ve been waiting for this for 20 years, there will take some rough roads, which we literally have, but at the end everyone will hopefully be happy with the project. We’ll have more businesses come in. It’ll all be good at the end.”