Port of Brownsville celebrates 80th anniversary with community

BROWNSVILLE — Since its inception, the Port of Brownsville has created about 11,000 jobs, contributing to the overall growth of Cameron County.

Due to high security, the community is not normally able to see the port in action. But on Saturday morning, as part of its 80th anniversary, people from across the county enjoyed a variety of activities at the port, including guided boat tours, information booths, food and live music.

“It gives the public an opportunity they haven’t had in years to see what’s happening here at the port, and hopefully allows them to better understand our mission: to create opportunities through bringing in jobs for the folks who live in our area,” said John Wood, port commissioner.

Wood called the 80th anniversary a milestone.

“The port has changed a lot in many years,” he said. “If you look around, you can still see the old docks and you can see what we have now.”

Francisco Garcia, the owner of Speed Signs, can attest to the opportunities the port can offer. His company has worked with the port for years, contributing all the directional and speed signs around the port.

“They have helped a lot to grow my business, and I’m glad to be working with them,” Garcia said.

Like Wood, Garcia also can recall seeing the growth in the area during the years.

“When they started this, it was a small area,” he said. “But now, it is lush and very well-organized.”

Glenn Simpson and Patty Pena, residents of Brownsville, said they wanted the chance to see the different facilities within the port.

They learned quite a bit in the process, they said.

“We learned of the diversity of activity here at the port and how important the Port of Brownsville is to not only Texas but South Texas, too,” Simpson said.

Although they did not have a chance to try the boat tour, the two did stop at some of the many booths placed throughout the event.

Visitors could learn more about LNG plants, the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority, the Gladys Porter Zoo or the Brownsville Public Utilities Board, among other organizations.

By the end of their visit, they began to appreciate the magnitude of the port’s impact on the region, Simpson said.

“Understanding the magnitude of all the commerce going through the port is amazing,” he said.

Pena said it was a beneficial event for children, especially.

“It exposes them to what is available and what’s going on in the community,” she said. “If you expose them to these things, it shows them what their future could look like.”