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On Thursday, December 12, 2013, Commissioner Hector "Tito" Palacios and the staff of Precinct 2 held the first in a series of Community Meetings at the San Juan Community Resource Center. In an effort to provide Precinct 2 constituents with a better understanding of the current and future projects in development, Commissioner Palacios invited residents to meet with him and his staff. The precinct encompasses the communities of McAllen, Hidalgo, Pharr, San Juan and Alamo. During the meeting the heads of several departments spoke before the crowd about projects in the following areas: roads, drainage, parks, sanitation, colonias, and programs and services.
Improving the roads in Precinct 2 is a top priority. Crews recently finished a project on McColl Road between Dicker and Anaya in Pharr. $430,000 were used to reconstruct the roadway and repair the existing drainage system, which improved road gave parents safe access to Valley View Early College Campus and Willbur Lucas Elementary. Another $6 Million is being spent on the construction of a new drainage and roadway on McColl Rd from Orangewood to Dicker Rd. This project includes the installation of a new waterline for McAllen. The partnership between Precinct 2, TxDot, and the City of McAllen will provide a new roadway for residents allowing them access to nearby shopping areas and will provide economic development for McAllen. Currently, workers are widening the streets at Border Road in Alamo due to the increase in traffic circulation in response to the new development of homes in the area.
During Hurricane season and throughout the year, flooding is a major worry for Precinct 2 residents. Teaming up with the city of San Juan and the General Land Office, Precinct 2 used $2 Million to construct a new drainage ditch and storm sewer pipe off of Minnesota road. This drain provides flood relief for families in the Primavera, Arco Iris and Aldama subdivisions. Last year’s passing of the $184 Million drainage bond is helping restore the collapsed Rado Drain. The $5 Million project is located McAllen off Ware Rd by the Cardona at Bentsen Lakes Subdivision. This improvement will ensure the safety of the residents and provide the needed drainage improvements to ensure drainage relief in the future.
Cracking down on illegal dumping helps keep Precinct 2 clean from unwanted debris. Residents are able dispose of their trash and brush at the El Gato Collection Site in Alamo. The site is open daily from 8:30 to 4:30, excluding weekends and is free of charge. Since it opened in 2002 the precinct has collected over 155,000 tons of trash, 70,000 tires and has issued 28,000 permits.
Commissioner Palacios and his staff are dedicated to providing a better quality of life for the residents of Precinct 2. Since taking office, Commissioners Palacios has opened 2 community resource centers.
In 2002, the San Juan CRC and Park was constructed and since then it has served 600,000 people. It houses a WIC office, Tax Office and Baby Cafe giving residents easy access county resources. The center offers GED classes, health fairs and provides community outreach services such as clothing drives. The park’s amenities included a picnic areas, playgrounds, and baseball fields.
In 2009, the Alamo CRC was opened and has helped over 160,000 residents. Along with the Tax Office it also houses a Sheriff Sub-station. This community partnership with the Sheriff’s Office has helped reduce crime in the area known as “Little Mexico.” Instead residents can focus on healthy living by taking advantage of the free community classes or enjoy time at the park with its basketball courts, pavilion and walking trails.
Next up is a Community Resource Center in the city of McAllen. It will be located where the old McAllen Jail used to stand on the corner of Main Street and Pecan. Once it is renovated the citizens of McAllen will be able to access Precinct 2 services close to home.
Precinct 2 is proud to be the first county department to build green. The construction of multi-purpose complex off of Hall Acres Road in Pharr houses the Precinct 2 Administration offices, WIC, the Tax Office substation, the Health Department clinic and the Justice of the Peace Courts. Solar panels have helped save the county thousands of dollars in electricity, passing the cost savings to the tax payers. Commissioner Palacios recognized the value of solar panels and knew they could also benefit residents in Precinct 2. He worked to have these installed in subdivisions lacking street lights. The El Charro subdivision in Lopezville is home to 676 families. 32 lights were installed in the neighborhood helping reduce crime by bringing much needed light at night. In the future, the precinct hopes to install more solar streetlights at the South Tower Estates in the Alamo area.
The event ended with questions from the audience. Commissioner Palacios says he and his staff have more Community Meetings scheduled for January and February.