PHARR - Hundreds of local leaders, business partners and community organizations filled Pharr’s event center to highlight and recognize the city’s achievements, Thursday, January 16.
It was the power in numbers that proved the hub city is a leading role in the Rio Grande Valley. Infrastructure, public safety, entertainment, education, agriculture and economic growth were just a number of topics that Pharr is contributing to.
“There’s no doubt that the power in numbers - it is because of you, because of us and because of the great leadership and partnerships that Pharr’s future is bright,” said Pharr Mayor, Dr. Ambrosio "Amos" Hernandez addressing the crowd.
Pharr’s infrastructure is currently in the process of improving its local parks, interstate interchange and drainage that has impacted thousands of residents. Mayor Hernandez serves as the inaugural chairman of the Rio Grande Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, a federally funded transportation policy-making organization, and TXDOT to reconstruct its roadways.
“One of our highest priorities has been the expansion of the Pharr Interchange, which for years has been inadequate,” said Mayor Hernandez. “We will all soon enjoy a new interchange and rest assured, it will accommodate future growth.”
Public safety ruled that Pharr was one of the safest cities to live in the Rio Grande Valley according to safehome.org. Last October, the city celebrated the official grand opening of its Public Safety Communications Building, a four area dispatch center with state-of-art equipment.
As a connector city, Pharr also serves as the entertainment district. Top Golf and Main Event have been two of the biggest attractions in the Rio Grande Valley along with its retail plaza, increasing sales tax by 15% year after year.
“This year, for the first time in Pharr’s history, I am excited to announce that our sales tax figures indicate that Pharr surpassed more than $1 billion dollars in sales,” Mayor Hernandez said.
“This profound number represents an approximate $140.6 million increase in total sales in the City of Pharr from the previous fiscal year.”
The city even welcomed CarMax, the largest used-car retailer in the U.S. - opening its 22nd location in the state and providing new high-paying jobs with a $50,000 starting salary.
“We thank our business community partnerships at the local, state, national and international level for continuing to expand opportunities in the various retail, food, entertainment and other industries that allow Pharr residents and those in surrounding communities to shop, eat and stay in Pharr,” Mayor Hernandez said. “Our economy would not be nearly as robust if we didn’t have an educating instilled workforce.”
In 2019 Pharr’s unemployment rate was at 6.2% and plans to bring more and new job opportunities in manufacturing.
Pharr’s education at the high school level offers hands-on-training for students in a real workforce environment. Programs in body shop work, mechanical and sales practice are available through internships.
“We continue to cultivate a positive learning environment for all Pharr residents and are particularly committed to providing opportunities for higher education right here in Pharr,” Mayor Hernandez said. “This past year, we broke ground on the PSJA-UTRGV-City of Pharr Natatorium, which will serve as an anchor for health and wellness facilities.”
Not only is Pharr known for its entertainment district and driven workforce, but as the no. 1 border crossing for produce. Transportation and distribution are booming with a 6% increase in imports and a 5% increase in exports exceeding $35 billion.
“Our Pharr bridge recently celebrated its 25th anniversary this year, a notable milestone indeed, and we are delighted to announce that the Pharr International Bridge now ranks as the third-largest border crossing in Texas,” Mayor Hernandez said.
Pharr’s International Bridge crosses 70% of the nation’s produce.
The City of Pharr has created new job opportunities with the strong partnership of Texas Workforce Commission that embodies equity, diversity, dedication, and growth. This partnership lead to the promotion of Anali Alanis and Hilda Pedraza - the first female Assistant City Managers in the history of Pharr.
The sponsor-funded event concluded with excess donations to the following organizations and the Polo Palacios Award, an achieving award to an individual who serves the Pharr community with pride.
Polo Palacios Awards -
Julian Alvarez, Texas Workforce Commissioner
Belinda Simons and Bianca Velazquez, Su Casa De Esperanza $5,000
Commissioner Eddie Cantu and President Jorge Palacios, PSJA ISD Education Foundation $5,000
Stuart Haniff and Olivia Lemus, Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley $5,000