New in Downtown: Manager takes over with plans for more businesses

HARLINGEN — For 20 years, Harlingen’s downtown shops have lured Edward Meza to the rows of brick buildings that hold much of the city’s history.

This week, Meza took over as the city’s downtown manager with a vision of turning Jackson Street into a bigger tourist draw.

“I’d been coming here since I came to the Valley — for the antiques, the shops,” Meza said yesterday.

Meza takes the job at a salary of $50,000. He served as Port Isabel’s city manager for eight years following work as that city’s museum director.

“It’s amazing. I’m so excited,” Meza said in his office, nestled in a brick building that’s stood as a landmark on East Van Buren Avenue for nearly 100 years. “My background is in historic preservation, museums and downtown revitalization.”

Meza said he plans to continue the work of Cheryl LaBerge, who served as downtown manager for 10 years before retiring this week.

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