City commissioners approve comprehensive plan

HARLINGEN — The city has mapped out its course for the next 10 years.

Last night, city commissioners approved the plan titled One Vision, One Harlingen Comprehensive Plan.

Consultants Halff & Associates began working on the plan in March 2013, holding four community workshops in which residents spoke about how they wanted the city to evolve over the 10-year period, Assistant City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez told city commissioners.

“It is a great plan for the long-term of our community,” Mayor Chris Boswell told the audience. “It addresses so many of our needs and concerns on a multi-layer basis. Everybody was involved in pulling this together — every department was involved.”

Boswell called for a workshop to prioritize goals.

“There are some specific goals and objectives that we can accomplish,” Boswell said.

Gonzalez said staff is meeting to review the finalized plan.

“It took a lot of work but now the work is beginning to plan this out,” Boswell said.

City Manager Dan Serna said the city paid $175,000 for the plan and a complementary 79-page parks master plan.

“The comprehensive plan’s development was an extensive process because we wanted to ensure that the community and all stakeholders had adequate time to prepare, review and provide input,” Serna said in a statement. “It certainly was a very thorough, cohesive effort and our end product is now a very useful, significant, municipal tool for continued growth.”

The plan envisions the city as a transportation hub boasting a vibrant retail district and a thriving medical complex.

“The 150-page plan consists of the city’s vision, goals, strategies and implementation measures for growth and prosperity,” a city press release stated. “It is an integrated approach to future development with a focus on all elements that make up a city: Housing; transportation; parks and open space; economic growth; downtown; history; public services and facilities; neighborhoods and community identity.”