By Roberto Hugo González
On January 26, 2024, in a significant development for the City of Weslaco and its Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the Mid Valley International Industrial Park officially opened its doors, marking a vital moment in the city’s journey towards economic growth and industrial innovation. Steve Valdez, the Executive Director of Weslaco EDC, not only showcased the culmination of 15 months of dedicated efforts since the groundbreaking ceremony in October 2022 but also set the stage for the future of business and commerce in the region.
As the master of ceremonies, Valdez welcomed a diverse assembly of community members, business leaders, and local officials to celebrate the realization of a project that is transforming the economic landscape of Weslaco. The Mid Valley International Industrial Park, with its strategic location and state-of-the-art infrastructure, represents a forward-thinking initiative to foster industrial growth and create new job opportunities.
The significance of this event was further underscored by the presence and address of Weslaco’s newly elected Mayor, Adrian Gonzalez. With palpable enthusiasm, Mayor Gonzalez highlighted the potential of the industrial park for Weslaco, emphasizing its role in making the city a centralized hub for the region. The mayor’s recounting of over 6,000 residential permits issued in the last three years, alongside growing retail developments, underlined the rapid growth Weslaco has been experiencing.
Mayor Gonzalez took attendees on a verbal tour of the industrial park, spotlighting its robust infrastructure designed to accommodate significant commercial activity. From the 55-foot-wide concrete road capable of supporting semi-traffic to the comprehensive drainage system and the two-acre detention pond, every detail of the park has been meticulously planned to ensure its operational success and sustainability he said.
The mayor also touched upon the strategic advantages of the park’s location, including its proximity to major highways and international bridges, enhancing Weslaco’s connectivity and appeal to businesses. The presence of Glazier’s building within the park was highlighted as the location’s attractiveness and the EDC’s effective promotion of the site.
In a heartfelt acknowledgment, Mayor Gonzalez paid tribute to the individuals and teams whose vision and hard work laid the groundwork for the park’s development. Former Mayor David Suarez, the city commissioners, City Manager Martin Garza, and the EDC board and staff were all recognized for their contributions. Their collective efforts in land acquisition, infrastructure planning, and fostering partnerships were essential in bringing the project to fruition.
The ceremony was not only a celebration of what has been achieved but also a call to action for the future. Mayor Gonzalez’s message was clear: the success of the Mid Valley International Industrial Park is a shared endeavor that will require ongoing support and collaboration from the entire community. As Weslaco continues to grow and prosper, the industrial park stands as an example of progress and a symbol of the city’s ambitious vision for the future.
In closing, Mayor Gonzalez expressed his gratitude to all who supported the project and reaffirmed his commitment to fostering a thriving, united community. The Mid Valley International Industrial Park is more than just a development; it’s a promise of growth, opportunity, and prosperity for Weslaco and its residents.
Jerry Gonzalez, the President of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Board, shared insights into the journey that led to this landmark achievement. His words painted a vivid picture of the relentless dedication and the collaboration that has characterized the development of this project from its inception.
Jerry opened his address by reflecting on the long and complex journey towards realizing the Mid Valley International Industrial Park. He acknowledged the foundational work laid by previous city officials and EDC board members, highlighting the contributions of figures such as Rick Talbert.
The path to the park’s opening day was not without its challenges. As Jerry pointed out, navigating the intricacies of such a massive project was a first for him, a seasoned banker accustomed to the financial side rather than the hands-on development process. This perspective underscored the diverse expertise and commitment required to bring the industrial park to fruition.
Gonzalez’s recounting of the obstacles faced by the WEDC board illuminated the critical role of partnership and support from various stakeholders, including city commissioners, engineers, and legal staff. These collaborations were instrumental in overcoming hurdles and achieving the project’s ambitious goals. The acknowledgment of newly elected Mayor Adrian Gonzalez’s mention of former officials who played pivotal roles in the park’s development further emphasized the continuity of effort and vision across different administrations.
The necessity of the Mid Valley International Industrial Park was highlighted as a response to the capacity limitations of Weslaco’s existing industrial facilities. Jerry’’s excitement was palpable as he discussed the attraction of new businesses such as Glazier and UPS to the park, a clear indication of its strategic significance as a distribution hub in the heart of the valley. This influx of new enterprises is a direct result of the foresight and planning of the project, promising to spur further economic activity and growth in the region.
Extending gratitude towards the many contributors to this project, Jerry specifically thanked North Alamo Water Supply, its representative Steven Sanchez, and the Hidalgo and Cameron County irrigation districts for their key roles in developing the park’s infrastructure. Special mentions of Randy Winston and Rigo Villarreal highlighted their respective contributions to addressing project challenges and securing a significant U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant, further fueling the park’s development.
As Weslaco looks forward to the economic and developmental opportunities the park will bring, the story of its creation, which serves as a blueprint for future initiatives, demonstrating what can be accomplished when a community unites behind a shared vision.
As the celebration of Weslaco’s Mid Valley International Industrial Park progressed, David Fuentes, Precinct 1 Commissioner of Hidalgo County, took the podium, shedding light on the county’s key role in the park’s development and the broader vision for regional prosperity.
Commissioner Fuentes began by expressing his excitement about the rapid progress from the groundbreaking of Glazier to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, signifying the park’s readiness to welcome a wave of commercial industry. His detailed account of the post-2018 flood drainage improvements revealed a thoughtful approach to infrastructure development, emphasizing resilience and efficiency. By enhancing offsite drainage capabilities, the county not only mitigated flood risks but also maximized the usable space within the industrial park, thereby facilitating business expansion and job creation.
Highlighting the county’s commitment to economic growth, Fuentes proudly discussed the implementation of a 10-year tax abatement for Glazier, a strategic move aimed at attracting businesses and fostering job opportunities in the area. This initiative reflects Hidalgo County’s proactive stance on leveraging tax incentives to stimulate local development and enhance the community’s economic landscape.
The Commissioner elaborated on the significant investments made by the county’s drainage district, which allocated approximately $12 million towards drainage improvements in the area surrounding the industrial park. These enhancements not only served to protect residential properties from flood damage but also supported the industrial park’s development by ensuring a stable and reliable infrastructure. Fuentes’s recount of the tangible benefits observed during Hurricane Hanna emphasized the importance of such investments in safeguarding and improving the quality of life for residents.
Fuentes articulated how the industrial park project aligns with Hidalgo County’s broader goals of promoting prosperity, job creation, and improving the tax base. He shared insights into the county’s efforts to combat poverty through economic development, illustrating a commitment to creating a sustainable future for Weslaco and its surrounding communities. The presence of numerous law enforcement agencies within close proximity to the park was also noted as a factor contributing to public safety and community well-being.
In the final phase of the grand opening ceremony of the Mid Valley International Industrial Park in Weslaco, Texas State Representative Armando “Mando” Martinez took the stage, encapsulating the unity and visionary efforts that have culminated in this significant achievement for the city and the region at large.
Representative Martinez highlighted the shared vision of growth, prosperity, and opportunity that has driven the development of the Mid Valley International Industrial Park. Reflecting on the legislative efforts back in 2015, which laid the groundwork for creating an overweight corridor to facilitate economic growth, Martinez emphasized the long-term planning and cooperation among local, state, and county officials that have been instrumental in realizing this vision.
With a resolution from the State of Texas, Representative Martinez officially commemorated the opening of the industrial park, crowning the efforts that have transformed over 146 acres into a dynamic hub for distribution, manufacturing, and logistics. This initiative, bolstered by a $1.5 million grant from the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, represents a pivotal contribution to the local economy’s growth and development.
The announcement of major investments by Glazer’s Beer & Beverages and UPS, alongside the opening of a third McDonald’s in Weslaco, features the park’s attractiveness to both national and international businesses. These developments, combined with the fact that 30% of the park was already sold and under contract before the ribbon-cutting, illustrate the high demand and strategic significance of Weslaco as a central location for commerce and industry in South Texas.
In closing, attendees were encouraged to spread the word about Weslaco’s success, access, and progress. The city’s strategic location, coupled with its commitment to safety, security, and logistical excellence, positions Weslaco to become the logistics and distribution capital of South Texas. The Mid Valley International Industrial Park stands as an example of the city’s ambition and a driving force for future growth and prosperity.