A colorful welcome: City launches project to landscape gateway

HARLINGEN — The city’s gateway is ready for a historic makeover.

Yesterday, officials with the Texas Department of Transportation met with parks Director Javier Mendez to launch a $380,000 project aimed at landscaping the Interstate 69 underpass at Harrison and Tyler Avenues.

On April 3, crews are expected to begin work on the five-month project to landscape the sprawling underpass and nearby stretches along Harrison and Tyler.

Flowering trees such as royal poinciana, wild olive and orchid trees are expected to spruce up the city’s gateway, splashing color across the area.

LED fixtures will light up the area expected to give off the ambiance of a park.

“I’m very excited about it,” Mayor Chris Boswell said yesterday. “It will have a huge visual impact at the entry ways to the city. That makes a first impression. It’s a great way to welcome people to our community.”

The project will help transform the area.

“In the past, the area has been overgrown,” Boswell said. “People would complain about it.”

For decades, a grassy field dotted with bushy native shrubs and shaggy Mexican fan palms has marred the busy city entrance.

City leaders selected the Harrison and Tyler underpass because it has become the city’s main entry near Valle Vista Mall and the fast-growing Harlingen Heights shopping district.

“We wanted to pick an area where we could make the biggest impact,” Melissa Boykin, executive director of Keep Harlingen Beautiful, said. “This is a big project. It’s going to make a huge difference on the gateway.”

Hardy native trees and shrubs will spruce up the landscape featuring drip irrigation.

“There will be lots of color, lots of greenery,” Boykin said. “They made some really good choices. A lot of the trees and shrubs are natural to the area, so they require little maintenance. It will be a beautiful project.”


Orchid tree

Royal Poinciana

Wild olive

Desert willow

Crape myrtle

Mexican Poinciana (red)

Texas mountain laurel

Yaupon holly

Butterfly bush


Texas Poinciana (white)

Split leaf philodendron

Dwarf powder puff

Turks cap

Bird of paradise

Dwarf oleander

Fire cracker plant

Texas red yucca

Dwarf cenizo