Port Isabel Receives USDA Grant Check

In a ceremony at Port Isabel's Treasure of the Gulf Museum, dignitaries were on hand to receive a USDA ceremonial check in the amount of $4,000,000. Funds will be used to build a new community and event center on the grounds of the Museum complex and Railroad Park. Mayor Vega thanked City Staff and USDA representatives for their hard work and perseverance as Port Isabel is one step closer to the construction of a Community and Event Center. Pictured: Janie Villarreal, PIEDC Administrator; Susie Alcocer, City Secretary; Mario Gonzalez-Davis, Grant Consultant; Maria de Jesus "MJ" Garza, City Commissioner; Edward Meza, City Manager; Joe E. Vega, Mayor; Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development State Director; Guillermo "Memo" Torres, City Manager; Paula Rodriguez, USDA; and Jake Sheeran, USDA Area Director at the presentation of the ceremonial check. USDA PRESS RELEASE: PORT ISABEL TO BENEFIT FROM USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT FUNDING Date: May 19, 2011 Contact Name: Jake Sheeran Release Number TX 209.11 Email: jake.sheeran@tx.usda.gov PORT ISABEL, TEXAS, MAY 19, 2011 - USDA Rural Development State Director, Paco Valentin, and Area Director, Jake Sheeran, presented a ceremonial check to the City of Port Isabel today. The $4,000,000 loan will be funded through USDA Rural Development's Community Facility program. "We need to ensure community services are able to keep pace with the increase in populations of rural communities every year," said Valentin. "USDA Rural Development is pleased to offer funding to the City of Port Isabel for a new Community Center, which will provide an outlet for events, as well as serve as a shelter during inclement weather for a growing population of rural residents." "I would like to thank the USDA for providing the loan opportunity to build the new event Center and EOC (Emergency Command Center) for our great city of Port Isabel," said Port Isabel Mayor Joe Vega. "Not only will this serve as a shelter during emergency situations, but will also serve as a place to celebrate family gatherings such as birthday parties, weddings and quincenarias. This new event center will also allow us more economic opportunities by bringing trade shows, conferences and cultural arts programs to the area and improving the quality of life for our citizens." Funding provided through USDA Rural Development will be used to construct a new 22,000 square foot multi-purpose building to be used for community events. The building will host large conference rooms for community gatherings and also serve as an emergency command center and shelter for rural residents during emergency situations, such as hurricanes. The project will benefit over 1,300 community members in the immediate area. In Fiscal Year 2010, over $62 million in Community Facility loans and grants were obligated in Texas. The USDA Rural Development's Community Facilities program helps finance essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. These facilities include libraries, child care centers, hospitals, medical clinics, assisted-living facilities, fire and rescue stations, police stations, community centers, public buildings and transportation. Through this program, USDA ensures that such facilities are available to all rural residents. These funds are available to public bodies, non-profit organizations and federally recognized Indian tribes. USDA Rural Development strives to see that rural citizens can participate fully in the global economy by providing technical assistance, funding, and other programs that help rural Americans build strong economies to improve their quality of life. For further information regarding USDA Rural Development Programs, contact the Edinburg office at 956-383-4928, Extension 4, or visit our website at http://rurdev.usda.gov/tx/. #
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