Trust offers land for new county warehouse

HARLINGEN — Cameron County Commissioner Gus Ruiz has positioned his precinct and the county to receive five acres of free land for a new Precinct 4 warehouse.

“What we’re asking from the Commissioners Court is to take action to accept a land donation,” Ruiz said.

The item will be considered for approval today.

Ruiz said the Leon and Linda Bence Revocable Trust is willing to donate five acres for the site of the proposed Precinct 4 facility.

The Bence land is located off of White Ranch Road and Expressway 83.

Currently, the Precinct 4 warehouse sits on less than an acre of land in Harlingen.

“It’s a win-win situation for Precinct 4 and Cameron County as a whole,” Ruiz said. “The only condition is it becomes a Precinct 4 warehouse and the other condition is that the facility is dedicated to Leon Bence.”

Leon Bence is the founder of Bence Nurseries and was a real estate developer in Harlingen and other parts of the Valley.

Ruiz said the donation will save Cameron County taxpayers from having to buy property for a new warehouse site.

Ruiz said according to an appraisal, the estimated value of the five acres is $100,000.

Ruiz said every precinct will to be receiving a new warehouse.

He said for a warehouse design for Precinct 4, he needs to have the land in place.

He said Precincts 1 and 2 already have proposed designs.

He said opponents might argue that “we already have land to build this facility.”

“I would like to save whatever land we have right now for any potential economic development projects down the road,” Ruiz said. “This is a land donation and it’s a great deal and it will bring our facility to the heart of the precinct.”

He said the Precinct 4 offices, a conference room to hold meetings and better parking for constituents would be included in the design of the new warehouse facility.

Ruiz said the Bence trust also owns the property around the five acres of land that is up for donation to the county.

“There is no hidden agenda,” Ruiz said. “We are hoping to receive a land donation, and a better location for our precinct operations.”

Ruiz said the idea of the property came about after conversations with Travis Bence, one of the trustees of the property.

He said the land already has utilities available. It’s just a matter of tapping into the system.

“Last week, the item read it was going to be a land purchase, but it’s even better, it’s going to be a land donation,” Ruiz said.