PHARR – Bulldozers and construction signs lined the walls along the Boggus Events Center. When Mayor Dr. Ambrosio Hernandez made his entrance a group of children donning construction uniforms made it evident the City of Pharr has been under construction for the past year.
Hernandez highlighted projects that have been complete, are under construction and planned to break ground within the city limits.
“The state of this great city continues to be dynamic, growing and better than ever,” The Mayor said as he addressed the several leaders from the area, sponsors and media.
His address was built around the theme “We Built this City.”
Some of the projects completed in the City of Pharr included a one-million gallon water tower which increased capacity to add 10,000 new connections for future growth. New improvements to Jones Box Park included a one-mile asphalt walking trail, a new parking lot, a new restroom, new basketball courts and new landscaping and irrigation.
The Pharr Memorial Library was given a commissioned mural depicting life and culture on both sides of the border.
A major win for the city was when Topgolf broke ground to open the 11th facility in Texas which will add 350 full and part-time jobs.
“Together we have enjoyed many successful accomplishments in the past 12 months,” Hernandez said. “Together we are building our city working with our partners we have earmarked over $200 million in funding to fix, expand and reconstruct our roadways.”
This includes the $150 million to expand the Pharr Interchange, expand Owassa Road and repave more than 44 miles of residential city roads.
This past year city commissioners lowered the tax rate for the second time in three years to 64 cents per $100 valuation. Also for the second time in three years the commission approved reimbursement of water meter deposits to resident accountholders in good standing.
Index Fresh became the first tenant in the new Pharr Produce Park when they opened a 60,000-square-foot facility where their avocados can ripen. The city also opened the South Pharr Research and Development Center which will hold workforce trainings, career fairs and will provide internet access.
On the horizon is a collaboration with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and their school of medicine in the making of the UTRGV Aquatic Center. The center will be used for practice time for students and to host school swim meets throughout the year.
The school of medicine will also develop a medical clinic campus in Pharr which will help with access to primary care for Pharr families.
The state of the city address also gave Hernandez the opportunity to present a new city seal, donate funds to local non-profits and present the Polo Palacios Award.
Monies from sponsors paid for the sit-down luncheon and technical aspects during the address and with the extra funds the mayor awarded The Pharr Community Theatre, First RGV and Outcry of the Barrio $5,000 each.
The Polo Palacios Award was given to the publisher of the Advance News Journal Gregg Romero Wendorf.
The event concluded with the mayor asking those in attendance to take photos in the photo booth and write something memorable for the City of Pharr in 50 years. All photos and memories were added to a time capsule.
“To capture this moment in time will help future leaders recognize and understand the historical context of our present,” Hernandez said.
Of all the feats lauded in his address the Mayor was not more proud of one or the other.
“They all [make me proud],” he said. “They all do because it is a team approach, we're a family here and we work with all partners so they are all equally important.”