Officials with the City of Edinburg say they now have a firm in place that will guide the development of a new downtown district.

At their regular meeting on Aug. 18, councilmembers selected Broaddus & Associates as their consultant to develop a downtown revitalization plan within the next 11 to 12 months.

The city selected Broaddus from a shortlist of at least five firms, all of which had representatives present at a special workshop held before the regular meeting. Firms produced roughly 10 minutes presentations to city leaders, and councilmembers mulled them over during executive session before coming to a decision.

The purpose of the plan, according to the city, is to identify marketing strategies to attract business to downtown, physical enhancements and update the city’s architectural standards.

“They have worked with some locations that were exactly mirrored with the situation we have here with a university and a courthouse and that sort of thing,” said Edinburg Mayor Richard Garcia. “I was very impressed with their presentation, their work history and the team they put together. I’m hoping this is going to make a difference in bringing our goals to fruition.”

Austin-based Broaddus is well known in the Valley for managing South Texas College $100 million bond program as well as the $65 million bond program for Texas Southmost College. The firm also designed McAllen’s new Convention Center and is currently acting as the managing firm for the Edinburg School District’s $111.9 million in school bond construction projects. The firm also maintains offices in McAllen and Brownsville.

Officials with Broaddus say there is “enormous potential” within historic and urban areas in the city to connect with the University of Texas-Pan American.

“We enjoy doing planning work in the Valley so I think the connection with the university and the city is going to be an extraordinary opportunity,” said Stephen Coulston, vice president for planning at Broaddus.

The next step is to pursue and negotiate a contract with Broaddus to determine their fee, which city officials hope will be within the city’s budgetary amount. The city will then have an initial discussion with the firm to iron out their approach, in essence deciding how “they are going to proceed to tackle the project,” according to City Manager J.J. Rodriguez.

Beyond that, numerous work sessions are planned between Broaddus and the council before bringing in community members, the county, museum, and others, Rodriguez said.

“This was just a selection process, now we move on to the negotiation and if we are able to meet the problems they are citing, we would move forward with a notice to proceed,” Rodriguez said.