This is the time our ancestors envisioned. And even though there may be bumps along the way, I declare that we are currently building the community they dreamed of, that we dreamed of, and that our children will love and care for one day.
WESLACO — The Mid-Valley’s largest city is definitely living up to its motto as “The City on the Grow.”
That was the resounding message delivered by Weslaco Mayor David Suarez during his annual “state of the city address” Wednesday afternoon.
“I’m proud to say that the state of our city is stronger, wiser and we are creating the community we’ve always dreamed of,” Suarez said to a crowd of hundreds at the Palacio de Destinee Event Center. “Today, we celebrate Weslaco.”
Weslaco is seeing booming growth in all sectors — from residential growth, to commercial and industrial expansions, to high-dollar investments in public infrastructure. And it’s all because of the relentless work ethic of Weslaco’s residents and workers, the mayor said.
“There’s a saying that goes, ‘A quien madruga, Dios le ayuda, y en Weslaco, no dormimos,’” Suarez said, referring to a “dicho,” or Spanish proverb, that translates to “God helps the earlier riser, and in Weslaco, we don’t sleep.”
For the fifth straight year — including years that spanned the COVID-19 pandemic — Weslaco has seen a rise in its taxable value. Value rose by double digits — 10.8% — over the last year.
Some $54 million of that growth is directly attributable to new construction, Suarez said.
In hard terms, that translates to the construction of more than 5,300 homes across 13 new subdivisions that include single-family homes, apartments and duplexes.
The city is also seeing heavy investment from commercial and industrial interests.
“I am so excited to announce that Weslaco is currently constructing its second international industrial park. The 145-acre project will create over 533 jobs and bring in 21 new businesses to the Mid-Valley area,” Suarez said.
I’m proud to say that the state of our city is stronger, wiser and we are creating the community we’ve always dreamed of. Today, we celebrate Weslaco.
Between the new industrial park and the restaurants, stores and other businesses flocking to Weslaco, more than $31 million is expected to be injected into infrastructure improvements, the mayor said.
The city itself is also investing in infrastructure — in public infrastructure.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been poured into Weslaco’s parks and “green spaces” in the aftermath of the pandemic, which Suarez said changed “our way of life” by encouraging people to get outdoors during the height of social distancing.
“Weslaco parks is where life happens, and we celebrate it,” Weslaco Commissioner Gregory “Greg” Kerr said, as part of a promotional video that was shown to attendees during the event.
Last year saw the opening of the city’s newest park, Judge Gilbert Garza Park, on Weslaco’s north side along Mile 11 North.
This year, residents can expect to see additional investments at the park, including the installation of soccer field lighting.
The police and fire departments will soon have a new place to call home once construction of the city’s combined public safety building is completed along Business 83.
Speaking of public safety, Suarez touted the accomplishments of those departments.
In particular, the mayor highlighted how Weslaco has bucked a trend that has seen crime rising nationally.
Instead, over the past three years, crime in Weslaco is down by 7% overall, with violent crimes down by 22%.
Weslaco police also work in close partnership with the Weslaco Independent School District to help steer teens away from trouble via a “first time offenders” program.
“Our strategy is to fight crime with a surgical knife, rather than a chainsaw,” Suarez said.
Weslaco leaders have also heavily invested in making the city more resilient to heavy rains, especially after thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed by the summer floods of 2018 and 2019.
To that end, thousands of gallons of floodwater capacity have been created through the construction of regional detention facilities, or RDFs, all over town. And more are in the planning stages.
Ultimately, the mayor said Weslaco is making itself the kind of town its founders would be proud of.
“This is the time our ancestors envisioned. And even though there may be bumps along the way, I declare that we are currently building the community they dreamed of, that we dreamed of, and that our children will love and care for one day,” Suarez said.