Valdez: Plans underway to expand runway at Weslaco Mid-Valley Airport by 1,000 feet
PHARR, Texas – Steve Valdez executive director of Weslaco Economic Development Corporation, says plans are being developed to bury a canal so that the runway of Mid-Valley Airport can be extended by 1,000 feet.
According to Weslaco Mid-Valley Airport website, the airport currently has a 6,000 x 80 foot lighted runway.
Valdez announced the plans when he spoke at IWS2, the industrial warehouse summit hosted by Pharr Bridge Board and held at Pharr Development and Research Center.
The theme for the summit was, “Building a Competitive Border Region for Near-Shoring and Industrial Growth.”
Valdez said: “We have a what we believe is the fourth largest airport (in the Rio Grande Valley), behind Harlingen, McAllen and Brownsville. Recently we were awarded with a $5.7 million grant for additional hangars. We just finished about six hangars and so we seem to be growing in terms of the airport.”
Valdez then pointed to a slide in a powerpoint presentation.
“If you can see it… at the very top of the airport there’s a canal and the City is looking at ways to cross that canal. Bury the canal process so that you can extend another 1,000 feet for our airport runway.”
Leaders from across Hidalgo County recently attended a press conference to hear the announcement of the $5.7 million grant. Valdez said that the press conference.
“During the announcement of the $5.7 million we went to the Payne Auto Group hangar, a 10,000 square foot hangar that sits about six airplanes, a beautiful location,” Valdez said at IWS2.
“If you get a chance to stop by there at some point, it is a really nice expansion to our airport. On site (customs) inspections, as you can see. Within one hour, if you call ahead of time, you could have Customs Border Protection be there as well for your inspections.”
The grant for the new hangars came from state and federal resources. State lawmakers appropriated $5 million with Hidalgo County adding $750,000 from its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. A news release from the City of Weslaco about the funding is included at the end of this story.
In another part of his speech at IWS2, Weslaco EDC’s Valdez spoke about the strong ties his group has with South Texas College. He pointed out that STC’s Mid Valley campus is the second largest in the college system.
“We do, I think, an exceptional job with STC. We offer STC a $75,000 grant and in the last three years that we’ve had this program, we’ve trained over 500 employees… so that really helps us to promote any industry that might be looking at Weslaco or our region,” Valdez said.
“We can say that if you’re employed in Weslaco through the STC program, if your skill-set might be short, then through training programs at STC, we can bring that labor force up to skill and whatever requirements they (employers) have.”
Valdez also spoke about the industrial space Weslaco has.
“We have, at minimum, 311,000 square feet of available lease space and 149 acres that has gone from what would have been dirt to now retail space as well. And so that’s evidence of our commercial growth,” Valdez said.
Valdez then discussed Weslaco EDC’s current industrial park and a new one under construction.
We have about 85 plus companies there (at the first park). They are also intertwined with the airport, as we mentioned before, so that one’s almost at capacity. And that’s one of the reasons why we moved into this new location. It started out at about 150 acres, but because of all of the detention and the road itself, it’s down to about 129.”
Valdez said Glazer’s Beer & Beverage took the largest portion of the new industrial park. He said their building is 45 feet high and about 253,000 square feet. “From what I hear it’s about five football stadiums under one roof so we’re really excited about their anchoring our industrial park.”
Valdez said he was allowed to say there will be McDonald’s and that the EDC has a number Letter Of Intent agreements pending. “So, the commercial lots went really fast.”