Downtown wins 13th straight Main Street honor

HARLINGEN — If you’re keeping score, it’s now 13 straight years in which Downtown Harlingen has received a Texas Main Street Program certification.

Harlingen is one of just 68 Texas cities to receive the accreditation in the 2018 competition, which is administered under the watch of the Texas Historical Commission.

City downtowns are evaluated on four criteria — promotion, design, economic development and organization, Downtown Manager Edward Meza said yesterday.

“We have an extensive report that we have to put every item that we did and it has to meet the proper criteria that they have set,” Meza said.

“Last year when they critiqued it they give you scores and they tell you what you need help on or what they recommend for the next report cycle,” he added. “At the time, they said we needed to do more things with youth, and that’s why we had an intern (art student Jared Castaneda), then we had the mosaic planters and got the high school kids involved in designing them, and that gave us a real good score this year.”

Meza said an overall score of 95 or better wins accreditation with Texas, and that is expected to be confirmed at the national level in March.

“What they do is anything over 95 you get an accreditation with the state and with the National Main Street Program,” he said. “We’ve been getting really good scores — last year it was 101 and this year we’re doing 103, which is a nice amount. We’re proud of that.”

And Meza said downtown expects a major boost when the district is scored the next time — about nine stories’ worth of boost in the high-rise form of a rehabilitated Baxter Building.

“They told me that next year that’s going to count large points because when it’s completed, you get more points with a revitalization project the size of the Baxter,” Meza said. “We’ll get a higher score, and I’m looking forward to that.”

Downtown in March

March 2 — Downtown Street Market Days, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

March 7 — Downtown Morning Coffee, 8:30 a.m., Designer Boutique

March 29 — Harlingen Art Night, 7-10 p.m.

March 30 — March Madness, Harlingen Junior League, 6-10 p.m.