The future of McAllen’s historical architecture could rest in the hands of the community. The public is invited to attend a public meeting on Thursday, March 19, at 6:30 p.m. in the City Commission Room, third floor of City Hall.

“We need some design guidelines for what is going to be allowed, what will be allowed to be altered and in what manner,” said Julia Rankin, director of planning for the City of McAllen. “After we did the first survey for historic buildings, we had a presentation at Cine El Rey and ultimately developed our first historic district — the Las Palmas Historic District.”

The district includes a neighborhood developed in the 1920s and ‘30s, with a variety of architectural styles such as Craftman, Mission Revival, Spanish Eclectic and Tudor Revival.

Many other landmark buildings dot the streets of McAllen bringing with them stalwart-looking, elegant and architecturally beautiful structures. With the interest growing to keep alive the preservation of historical buildings, it’s now time to take the next step — develop a plan for the future.

“We want to take the opportunity to have the public meet and give us their ideas, thoughts and concerns of where they want this program to go,” Rankin said. “Does the community want us to continue to save historical buildings and how aggressive do they want us to be?”

Currently a tax incentive applies; freezing historical property at its current appraised value if the property is state and national or local and state historically approved. If the property appreciates in value, tax is only paid on the original appraised value when approved as a historical site.

Not only is the question of will the community support the preservation program of the city at stake, there could be an economic factor involved as well.

“A few months ago we had a historical tour for the first time, and we filled two buses,” said Xavier Cervantes, neighborhood planner. “People are interested, and we need to capitalize on what we have.”

“We’ve tried to convince some property owners to keep or renovate and restore older building facades, then redo the inside if they want,” said Rankin. “It’s much more helpful if the community is behind it, and we can offer more incentives.”

All interested individuals are invited and urged to attend this meeting.