The city of Edinburg authorized its city manager Tuesday to enter into a real estate purchase agreement related to acquiring H-E-B Park as a venue for the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s football program.
The council and the city’s economic development corporation have been discussing the deal under the name “Project Swap” since September, almost entirely behind closed doors.
The council authorized City Manager Myra Ayala to enter into letters of intent related to that project in November.
“I want to reassure our residents that we are diligently working to bring this exciting venture to Edinburg,” Mayor Ramiro Garza Jr. said in a release from the city issued Wednesday. “UTRGV football is a source of pride for our community, and I’m pleased to share that our efforts come with no additional cost to our residents. We are working hard to support the university, creating an opportunity for all of the Rio Grande Valley to celebrate the spirit of Vaquero football without any added financial burden.”
Last month, the University of Texas System Board of Regents voted to allow UTRGV to buy H-E-B Park from the city, if the city winds up acquiring it.
“We are looking forward to working with the City of Edinburg on the possibility of bringing UTRGV football to H-E-B Park,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said in the city’s release. “If acquired, this stadium immediately provides our football program with an outstanding venue that could be ready for our 2025 debut.”
A release described the closure as immediate. Business relations between Toros operator Golden Grape Entertainment and the United Soccer League are over after eight years, it said.
“A conclusive decision was reached to cease all operations after eight seasons of professional soccer competition in the United Soccer League. Naturally, decisions of this caliber are carefully considered and are extremely difficult to make as they affect multiple individuals, both internally and externally,” Golden Grape Entertainment President Hondo Candelaria said.
A closure has seemed an increasingly likely possibility for the past several weeks.
In mid-November, two Edinburg city councilmen told the Progress Times the city hoped to acquire H-E-B Park — the Toros’ home — to use it as a venue for UTRGV football.
One of them, Jason De Leon, said a successful acquisition would likely mean the end for the Toros.
“Obviously the Toros won’t be there any more,” he said last month.
The Toros announced the exit of Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera last month with little explanation.
Although long viewed as an ideal venue for UTRGV football, playing at H-E-B Park was not always a foregone conclusion this year.
The university considered at least one other stadium over the summer.
“Making sure the University Football Stadium stayed in Edinburg and close to campus is of paramount importance to the college experience,” wrote Representative Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, in a statement to the Progress Times that described him as a behind-the-scenes advocate of keeping the football program in Edinburg.