Hidalgo County mayors come up with master plan to fix drainage issues

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Four Hidalgo County mayors are meeting in a sit-down collaborative effort to discuss drainage issues, international bridge needs and regional economic development projects.

"We came up with an idea of what is called the Hidalgo County Municipal Drainage Committee of which the four largest cities would take the lead on improving the system to move waters from each city limits through the outlets to the Gulf of Mexico,” said Mission Mayor Dr. Armanda Ocaña.

Those cities are Mission, Pharr, McAllen and Edinburg. Eight drainage projects are underway.

Ocaña said the masterplan will take man power, money and time but needs to be done as a county-wide effort.

"There's always local budgets, but what we are talking about is a more regional budget and we still haven't started but we are going to look into it,” said newly elected McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos. “This will have to be a regional effort, not just McAllen, Mission, Edinburg and Pharr, but all of Hidalgo County. And we’re going to need the help of Cameron and Willacy, too.”

The plan is to meet once a month to keep the projects moving.

"One of the reasons that the four of us meet is because we [comprise] about 50% of the population for the entire county,” said Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina. “Regionalism is very important. When people look at a map, they look at the Rio Grande Valley as a whole sometimes. A lot of people don’t realize this but the reason we are focusing so hard on drainage is because a lot of our drainage canals are connected."

Mayor Ocaña asking for the public to be patient.

“I am very concerned and this is why we are moving forward, but keep in mind, changing a system that has been intact for the last 50 years is not done overnight."

The next meeting and conference is set for July 7. City engineers and other surrounding city mayors will attend.


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