HARLINGEN — The downtown Harlingen board is flirting with the idea of incorporating most of the historic La Placita district into the tax district.

The Downtown Improvement Board recommended in September that a two-block section of West Van Buren Avenue in the once-thriving Latino business district be added to the downtown district. The City Commission approved.

Joining the Downtown Improvement District opens up avenues for grants and other funding which may not be available to outsiders.

“They can apply for grants, like right now we do for painting, and we also have control over the painting regulations,” said Charlie Perez, the board chair.

New proposals would add two additional tracts of La Placita as well.

One three-block section would run along West Jackson Avenue from the railway lines just west of Commerce Street to South E Street in the west. The alleys north and south of West Jackson Avenue would fill in the block of properties.

In addition, board members said yesterday, City of Harlingen officials have requested the board consider another area of La Placita as a possible addition to the downtown district.

This area includes Lt. George Gutierrez Jr. Park and a half-block north of the park from West Van Buren Avenue to the alleyway.

To join the downtown district, the board must acquire the approval of 50 percent of the property owners in the proposed additions.

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