‘Long overdue’ project: McAllen breaks ground on new metro and parks facilities

Ground is broken Tuesday for new facilities that will house the Parks & Recreation Department and Metro McAllen. (Courtesy Photo)

City departments will soon have a new home as the city broke ground on new facilities Tuesday that will house the Parks & Recreation Department and Metro McAllen.

City officials commemorated the start of construction of the new facilities which will sit on a 16-acre property located on 23rd Street, just north of Buddy Owens Boulevard, which will include of the new metro transfer station and maintenance facility and the new administrative offices for the Parks & Recreation Department.

“To say this project is long overdue is clearly an understatement,” said City Commissioner Joaquin “J.J” Zamora who represents District 2, where the new facilities will be located.

Zamora said it was delayed because the city prioritized other projects like drainage and because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After the year, the city of McAllen like everyone else in the world, began to slowly return to normal and bring back projects that had been put on hold,” he said. “This project is no different and COVID’s impact was still being felt and the price had risen considerably, understandably so, as supply chains and labor were all affected by our pandemic.”

Still, Zamora said the city commission didn’t want to delay the project any further.

“This facility is not simply a new building for McAllen Metro and Parks, it is also an upgrade from previous small, cramped, an unusable space that our city of McAllen employees endured to do the job to the best of their ability,” Zamora said, “and they did so without complaining. Well, maybe they complained a little bit.”

The total cost of this project came out to $12.9 million, according to City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez who said the price tag ended up being over budget for the city.

Rodriguez added that $7.8 million of the total cost were funded by the Federal Transit Administration and the Texas Department of Transportation while the remaining came from the city, largely through certificates of obligation.

The city commissioners awarded the construction contract to D. Wilson Construction, a McAllen-based contractor which has 365 working days to complete construction.

The new metro transfer station and bus maintenance facility, which cost $7.801 million, will have employee and visitor parking, public parking spaces, bus parking, wash and fuel islands and maintenance bays, according to Rodriguez.

The Parks & Recreation Department’s new administrative offices and maintenance warehouse facility, which cost $5.105 million, will include administration and visitor parking, employee parking, city vehicle parking, trailer parking, and material storage.

“This project is more than just about constructing a new building,” Rodriguez said, “these buildings will help us better serve our community but they will also help us take care of our employees and they’re both very, very important to us.”