Rolling by the Kapal Cabinet House, a director with the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation makes an observation of what economic vitality means to a city.
“Everyone enjoys seeing life back in the building,” said Steve Valdez as he moderates the Weslaco EDC’s 2019 bus tour.
The tour is an annual event that brings together community and business leaders to view Weslaco’s economic gains. They also witness how the EDC’s efforts help bring vacant buildings back to vitality. A prime example is Kapal occupying a building that once housed a pants sewing factory. The bus tour highlighted 34 businesses in Weslaco that the EDC had some sort of role in bringing, reviving or assisting on their way to success.
Leading the tour was Marie McDermott, Weslaco EDC’s executive director. She looked back at a 2019. It thus far includes Kapal starting up, the opening of two huge Commodities Integrated Logistics (CiL) cotton warehouses at the city’s industrial park and the ongoing construction of a Valley Baptist Micro Hospital.
“We’ve had a stretch of very good job growth and investments in the city,” McDermott said.
The Weslaco EDC has been integral in the city’s growth over the last year. The 80,000-square foot Kapal facility was one of the first businesses highlighting the tour. Incentives from the EDC helped bring the high volume, high quality, turn-key cabinet maker to Weslaco.
Further up the road on the tour was the Mid-Valley Industrial Park. Here, the two CiL warehouses and distribution centers stand. Their total space exceeds 285,000 square feet. Building of the warehouses took only a matter of months thanks to the EDC. Its help in fast tracking the city’s permitting process got the facilities up-and-going in time for cotton harvest season.
After nearly two hours, the tour bus was back at the EDC offices. Here, McDermott reflected on three years of work that has seen the implementation of 54 projects with $54.4 million in investments. Its also brought an addition of 698 jobs to Weslaco.
“We’re going to keep plugging away at manufacturing, logistics, and distribution,” she said, citing a few goals for the new fiscal year.