County seeks grant to fund eco-center project


Staff Writer

BROWNSVILLE — The county has agreed to provide up $200,000 to the town of Laguna Vista for utilities to supply services for the future South Texas Ecotourism Center.

However, the $200,000 payment is contingent upon the project receiving a grant to help complete it.

The city and Cameron County are working with the Lower Rio Grande Valley Development Council to apply for a grant worth nearly $1 million.

It is a 20 percent grant match.

The project that has been in the works for a while will be located on a 23.5 acre site off Highway 100 and is estimated at $1 million.

“We as a commission had agreed to bring the utilities to the site, but if you could get a grant to pay for it, it would be very beneficial to us,” Precinct 3 County Commissioner David Garza said at a Commissioners Court meeting.

The project would bring infrastructure to the 23 acres for water, sewer, utilities and a lift station.

The partnership between the county and the town has been made to lease land owned by Laguna Vista to the county to build the learning center.

Program administrator Mark Yates said in an earlier interview the facility will serve as an education center where people could stop in and get a dose of the wildlife in the area.

The facility will boast a variety of features including exhibit halls, a natural wetland, an outdoor theater and trails.

Cameron County is currently working on preliminary plans for a South Texas Ecosystem Center.

“We were made aware of this opportunity for this grant and the timing has just fallen into place,” Garza said. “I think the estimate of the grant is $999,999”