Efforts by area Rio Grande Valley state officials helped to win approval from
Texas State Legislature for the funding award
Governor Greg Abbott signed the 2018-2019 biennial budget into law, which included a provision granting Quinta Mazatlán $5 million in state funding for improvements to the nature preserve and construction of the proposed Center for Urban Ecology (CUE) facility.
Quinta Mazatlán attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year and plays an important role both in the conservation of the Rio Grande Valley’s beloved landscape, as well as the City of McAllen’s bustling tourism industry.
“I want to thank Gov. Abbott for recognizing the critical importance of this project and signing into law a budget that will have such a tremendous, lasting impact on the City of McAllen and the entire Rio Grande Valley,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “In fact, our Rio Grande Valley state elected officials were key to advocate for this funding that will serve to not only improve the nature preserve, but also, it will enhance Quinta Mazatlán’s role in our ecotourism economy.”
“The Rio Grande Valley is fortunate to have elected leaders willing to fight for our City’s and the region’s best interests in the Texas Legislature and we applaud them for working so diligently to ensure this project comes to fruition,” Mayor Darling concluded.
The $5 million allocation for Quinta Mazatlán was championed by Senators Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) and Eddie Lucio, Jr. (D-Brownsville, who both filed the budget rider in the Texas Senate. Representative Bobby Guerra (D-Mission) also filed a companion rider on the House’s version of the state budget. Representatives Oscar Longoria (D-Mission), Sergio Muñoz, Jr. (D-Palmview) and Armando Martinez (D-Weslaco) were also instrumental in advancing this initiative through the Texas House of Representatives.
The CEU is staged to usher in unprecedented research and fieldwork opportunities by partnering with local educational institutions like UTRGV to offer science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) learning programs for students.
Quinta Mazatlán’s master plan project will cost upwards of $25 million and will include the Center for Urban Ecology, as well as a Sky Walk, Visitors Center, Children’s Outdoor Museum, Trails and Water Features, Ropes Adventure Park, Reptile Center and Aviary Recovery Center.
The capital campaign will incorporate various initiatives permitting donors to contribute in a variety of ways, including naming rights for different parts of the facility and nature areas. Fundraising efforts for the remaining amenities are currently underway by the Friends of the Quinta Mazatlán Board, a 501c3 non-profit organization.
The $5 million State of Texas grant award is the first giant step of many to making this project a reality for the City of McAllen and the Rio Grande Valley.