BROWNSVILLE — While a host of Cameron County officials celebrated the official opening of the Cameron County Levee Building Tuesday afternoon, they held a moment of silence for the building’s interior designer, who died tragically in September.
John Pearcy, an architect with Megamorphosis Design, who worked with architect Meg Jorn on the six-story building that now hosts three justice of the peace offices, constable’s office, the tax assessor’s office, the county’s IT department and the county clerk’s offices, said everyone can be proud of Jorn.
“She was responsible for all the interiors, all the furniture selections and a myriad of other projects in the area,” Pearcy said. “And I think that we can all agree that she did an amazing job.”
Jorn died Sept. 13 in Harlingen after a traffic accident on Expressway 83.
“Since she couldn’t be with us today … on behalf of my friend and collaborator, Meg, we’d like to express our deepest gratitude to Cameron County for our involvement in this landmark project,” Pearcy said.
And there is no doubt that for Cameron County and Brownsville that this is a landmark project.
The six-story Levee building used to be a Wells Fargo bank until the financial institution moved out. In February 2016, the county bought the building for $2.3 million.
On Tuesday, as officials celebrated its official opening, Cameron County residents were already filling up the lobby of the first floor to do business with the tax assessor. On the second floor, a few people milled about around the justices of the peace offices. Natural light flows throughout the building and even as county business commenced, construction workers were putting the finishing touches on the building’s sixth floor.
Precinct 1 County Commissioner Sofia C. Benavides said she hopes that the renovated building and centralization of some of the county’s services will have a spill-over effect into downtown Brownsville.
“This will help with Brownsville’s efforts to revitalize downtown,” Benavides said. “With our little bit of help and what they are doing, downtown will be a better place.”
County Judge Eddie Trevino Jr. praised the project for finishing on time and on budget before officials gathered together to officially cut the ribbon, commemorating the new home for so many county offices.
“We’re making lemonade out of potential lemons,” he said with a smile.
The county will be able to provide services to hundreds of county residents on a daily basis and officials hope all that new traffic helps in downtown revitalization efforts. The entire project cost the county approximately $11 million.