Citywide Wi-Fi access, a new and heavily touted natatorium, COVID response efforts and the launch of emergency medical services were among the 2021 highlights noted during the municipality’s annual State of the City address.

Themed “Together We Can Win,” the event held Jan. 20 was held at the Pharr Natatorium, located at 3001 N. Cage Blvd., to showcase the venue with high expectations of holding major high school and collegiate events.

Emceed by actor and Rio Grande Valley native Joseph T. Campos, the event was kicked off with a message from Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez.

“We chose this unique venue to host this event because we wanted to highlight the endless opportunities that are possible when: we dream big, we come together, and we make things happen,” Hernandez said in his address.

The mayor recognized the city’s accomplishments, including the launch of Pharr EMS, the new TEAMPHARR Broadband Internet Service, and the city’s COVID-19 response, as well as the city’s financial growth, public safety initiatives, advancements and partnerships in health, legislative efforts, transportation expansions, drainage improvements, city services and infrastructure developments.

“In 2022, the city of Pharr is prospering, highly innovative, exceeding expectations, and continuing to strive towards excellence,” Hernandez said. “We look forward to the year ahead because together we will win.”

At the end of his remarks, Hernandez awarded the Mayor Leo “Polo” Palacios Service Award to state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, and state Rep. Terry Canales. It was the first time the award has gone to two individuals.

Hernandez announced that Hinojosa and Canales will each be awarding a $2,500 grant to organizations of their choosing.

The city also presented a grant in the amount of $5,000 to UTRGV Aquatics and a $5,000 grant to PSJA ISD Aquatics.

The last award of the event was the Team Pharr Award, which went to Pharr’s Innovation and Technology Department, headed by director Jose Peña.