Harlingen EDC lands $1.6 million grant; aims to develop industrial park

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A $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration is expected to help Harlingen Economic Development Corporation officials open the Industrial Park at Roosevelt, which will offer prospective businesses options to the Harlingen Industrial Park. (Courtesy: Harlingen EDC)

HARLINGEN — For nearly 10 years, officials with the city’s Economic Development Corporation have been working to develop a 64-acre industrial park on the city’s northern edge, projected to create about 450 jobs.

Now, a $1.6 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration is expected to help officials open the Industrial Park at Roosevelt in about a year, Orlando Campos, the EDC’s manager and chief executive officer said.

On Aug. 2, U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, whose district includes Cameron, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties and eastern Hidalgo County, announced the grant’s award, adding the park’s development is projected to create about 450 jobs.

“This will assist and help expedite the development of the industrial park,” Campos said in an interview. “This will help us prep the property for new investment.”

‘Unique industrial park’

In April, EDC officials applied to the Economic Development Administration for the grant, planning to help fund a $2 million, 5.3-acre detention pond to help drain runoff in the low-lying area, Campos said.

As part of the grant’s specifications, the EDC will pay a $412,000 share of the project’s cost, he said.

The park stands between Primera and Roosevelt Roads, with access to Interstate 69.

“We‘ve been trying to develop that park for at least the past five years,” City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez said in an interview. “It’s going to be a unique industrial park. This grant is going to be a big boost to start that off in the right direction.”

Offering options

From 2015 to 2018, the EDC purchased the land officials set aside for the Industrial Park at Roosevelt, Beverly Ticer Loftus, the agency’s commercial development manager, stated.

The city’s first north-side industrial park will offer such businesses as warehousing and logistics companies direct access to the Interstate 69 trade corridor, Campos said.

“It provides another great option for us to work with,” he said. “The biggest advantage is proximity to the expressway. The businesses will dictate the number of jobs they will create.”

Now, EDC officials are working with a prospective business, officials said, declining to disclose details.

“We are currently working with a prospective company considering the property but it has not been finalized,” Ticer Loftus stated.

Creating jobs

As part of the project, officials are planning to build a hiking trail to serve nearby neighborhoods.

“We are excited that the EDA has partnered with the city of Harlingen in approving our grant application,” Mayor Norma Sepulveda stated. “The Industrial Park at Roosevelt project will create jobs and generate new property taxes, which will benefit the entire community. We believe that progress is not just about growth but also about enhancing the lives of our community. This is a win-win not only for new companies eyeing our community but also for the neighborhood immediately west of the industrial park. The grant will allow us to build a storm water detention pond and a hiking trail, which will address two pressing needs in our community. This project is a perfect example of how we can achieve both goals thanks to the EDA and Congressman Gonzalez.”

‘Investing in America’

The grant stems from President Joe Biden’s Investing in America program, federal officials stated.

“South Texas has a better, brighter future ahead because of reinvestment in American industry,” Gonzalez stated in a press release. “Thanks to the president and congressional Democrats, we passed historic funding that continues to deliver for the American people. This $1.6 million investment in new jobs, businesses and growth will strengthen Harlingen’s economy and have a positive ripple effect throughout our region.”

The new industrial park will offer prospective businesses options to the Harlingen Industrial Park, where about 38 companies each employ between 10 and 150 employees in an area along FM 506 and Harrison Avenue, officials said.