County questions Island projects

BROWNSVILLE — The future of South Padre Island was the focus of discussions at the Cameron County Commissioners Court yesterday after Island city officials approached the commission about using tax increment reinvestment zone funds.

Pct. 3 Commissioner David A. Garza was vocal about his reluctance to approve a revised project and finance plan for the Island when Assistant City Manager Darla A. Jones said the city would no longer be pursuing an expansion of the South Padre Island Convention Centre.

“Does the county need to take the lead on that? Here we are, thinking we’re investing dollars into that project, and we’re not,” Garza said.

Instead of improving the convention center, the city wants to dedicate a large portion of the $12.5 million to ecotourism campuses on the north and south end of the island. The city would coordinate with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Jones said.

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