When the Texas Tropical Trail Region selected Hidalgo as host for its 44th monthly meeting, representatives from the 20 counties learned new strategies for success.

City Councilman Guillermo Ramirez welcomed the state agency members to see the results of Hidalgo’s growth in population and tourism attractions. “We challenge our community to attract more people to Hidalgo,” he added.

Kay Wolf, assistant city manager for the City of Hidalgo, explained how Hidalgo has been successful in bringing tourist traffic to the city. “The City of Hidalgo had 7,173 residents in 2000; now it has 13,000,” she said.

Viola Arismendez, administrative assistant for the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse, joined Wolf in accompanying the visitors on two classic trolly buses for a two-hour ride all around Hidalgo.

The ride covered wonderful views, old and new, plus parts of the wall guarding the Rio Grande, and chances to bypass the wall (14 feet high) and walk to the edge of this interesting boundary.

Some rare birds were spotted, plus U.S. Border Patrollers, but nobody was passing across the river (at least within sight of the visitors).

Actually the event on April 21 covered many first-class Hidalgo attractions at length.

The World Birding Center has also joined the Old Hidalgo Pumphouse and Museum.

Rio Grande Valley Rails, a model railroad club, fascinated the group with a huge exhibit. Frank Jacobson, president, and Arthur Nemes, modeler, display hundreds of trains that run regularly. Their models still work while the Pumphouse is huge but quiet.

The group from the Texas Tropical Trail includes anyone from around South Texas who wishes to join. The next meeting will be held in Port Aransas May 19. Other meetings are scheduled in Hebbronville, June; San Juan and Donna, July; Laredo, September; and McAllen, December, tentative.