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Edinburg talks expanding Downtown District

On Tuesday, the city of Edinburg discussed the ideas to expand the Downtown District and considered gathering a committee for possible renovations.

Jaime Acevedo, Director of Planning and Zoning, presented a map of the city’s downtown district and guidelines. Acevedo presented ideas such as implementing a historical district and renovating buildings to make it an appealing destination area.

Concept art of redesigns showed downtown buildings remodeled to resemble initial and less modern designs of downtown shops and offices.

However, a historical district is limited as Edinburg only has the Chamber of Commerce building and City Auditorium registered as historical buildings. That, and the city does not have a historical committee.

“Downtown is the priority, but unless we have a focused approach, right, meaning has its own designated committee…it’s going to be tough,” said Edinburg Mayor Ramiro Garza. “There have been plans done in the past, but who’s going implement it.”

Acevedo also highlighted two upcoming projects, which mainly covers the area surrounding McIntyre St: the Edinburg Cultural Arts & Event Center, which should be ready in a couple of months according to the Planning & Zoning Director, and Promenade Park, completed in 2022.

The city may also expand westward to include the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley as part of the Downtown District.

A concept development masterplan from 2010 showed possible renovation of the university’s old bookstore, which did not move forward. However, Acevedo said the land north of the area could be used for development.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth in the University,” said Acevedo. “They’ve had expansion. But they haven’t focused on the area. This is an area I think they can focus on. I think with the city we can come up with some good plans for the future.”

Mayor Garza said that the city should update the plan as to what to do with the downtown area and work with stakeholders to make renovations and expansions a reality.

“Let’s revisit this,” said Garza, wanting to include stakeholders in the conversation. “I don’t want to do it without the stakeholders.”

He then continued.

“I just want to make sure that, well, the council, if everyone’s on the same page, we do need to focus our efforts. We do need to create a board [for] a downtown district, have some members, stakeholders on it that can help guide us.”

 

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