City provides $300K grant to improve facilities at Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show

MERCEDES — The Rio Grande Valley Livestock show is a staple event in a city trying to make more of a mark on the Valley.

That’s just one reason why the city will grant the show $300,000 to improve the venue to help it become a true destination.

Mercedes Development Corporation Executive Director Hernan Gonzalez said the funds will be a community investment grant to help the event center grow.

“At the end of the day, what you’re going to have is a parking lot for 3,800 cars with proper drainage, lighting and asphalt,”

Gonzalez said. “It makes it a better destination for more events.”

The grant is based upon the parking lot improvements being done by the livestock show at an estimated cost of $2.5 million.

The first portion of the grant will be provided after the improvement is made and then annual investments of $50,000 thereafter, for five years.

“The stock show is a year-round destination that brings people into Mercedes,” Gonzalez said. “In the long run, you say Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show, and you know that’s Mercedes.”

But the decision to give the money through the Mercedes Development Corporation wasn’t unanimous.

Discussed in executive session later, the motion was approved 3-1, with Commissioner Jose Gomez opposing it.

Loans and grants over $50,000 must have a majority approval of the City Council.

Gomez’s reason for voting against the grant was because the discussion to give the money occurred behind closed doors.

“People need to know where their money is going,” Gomez said. “People are concerned about their tax dollars.”

Gomez said he takes the time to meet with local businesses in Mercedes.

One of the questions he asks business owners is whether the livestock show brings more business to the community.

Gomez said the business owners typically answer no.

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