City Hosts Logo Design Contest for RGV Bicycling Capital

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Brownsville is the Bicycling Capital of the Rio Grande Valley, and the City of Brownsville is asking local residents to design the logo as part of a community-wide contest beginning Monday, July 6.

The contest is open to Brownsville residents only who are five years old and above at the time of entry. If a resident is under 17 years of age, parents must give their consent on the official entry form, which can be found on the City’s website at www.cob.us, along with the official contest rules.

To enter the contest, participants must:
. download and complete the official entry form,
. choose an age category,
. create a logo, and
. submit the design.

All logo submissions should be original, dynamic, unique, creative, and incorporate the full name of the designation: Bicycling Capital of the Rio Grande Valley or Bicycling Capital of the RGV. The logo must contain the word “Brownsville,” and a drawing of a bicycle. It may also incorporate other imagery or abstract symbols.

All entry designs will be screened and those that meet the guidelines and
specifications will be judged by City staff and volunteers. One winner in each age category will receive a prize and of the three category winners, one logo will be selected as the overall logo contest winner. An additional prize will be given to the overall grand prize winner chosen from the three category winners. Designs must be submitted electronically to RGVBicyclingCapital@cob.us with the completed entry form by 11:59 p.m., Friday, July 24, 2015. The winner will be notified by July 31, 2015.

The 84th Texas Legislature designated Brownsville as the Bicycling Capital of the Rio Grande Valley through House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 132, and was signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on June 18, 2015.

Brownsville Hosts Regional Economic Group to Meet on Cross-Border Industry June 30

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The City of Brownsville, in partnership with United Brownsville, will host a regional focus group in coordination with the Woodrow Wilson Center Mexico Institute and the North American Research Partnership from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesday, June 30, 2015, at the Brownsville Event Center.

Participants from across the Rio Grande Valley representing cities, economic development institutions, local maquiladoras, and other organizations, will gather to discuss approaches to and development of cluster-based economic development. Industry clusters are groups of similar and related firms in a defined geographic area that share common markets, technologies, worker skill needs, and which are often lined by buyer-seller relationships.

“As we continue to move forward from the economic recession of the past few years, we have to identify sustainable methods to drive wealth creation Valley-wide,” said Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez. “This focus group is just one step toward pinpointing the exact industry clusters that will benefit all of us as a region, and help us attract new wealth from both domestic and international markets.”

The focus group is a continuation of the work presented in the Wilson Center Mexico Institute’s and North American Research Partnership’s recent report The U.S.-Mexico Border Economy in Transition, which is an initiative to identify, map and analyze key industries operating within five binational sub-regions along the U.S.-Mexico border. The project is designed to support the economic development work of both local communities and the federal governments on both sides of the border.

“Through our BiNational Economic Development Initiative (BiNED), United Brownsville has built a Valley-wide partnership of key economic stakeholders to form a unified regional advance manufacturing strategy,” said Mike Gonzalez, executive director of United Brownsville. “This initial groundwork has made it possible to engage federal organizations and planning efforts as one collaborative and unified economic region with a population of over 2.3 million.”

A methodology has been designed to identify key industries in each sub-region that meet three criteria:

  • Highly concentrated, with greater than average levels of local employment, output, and locations;
  • Binational, with trade across the border; and
  • Dynamic, with greater than average growth.

The focus group will include a presentation on cluster mapping and cluster-based economic development, a discussion of supply chain and cross-border interactions in key binational industries, and of opportunities and challenges in growing those industries.

City Staff to Meet with Federal Agency Heads

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City of Brownsville staff is traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with representatives from various federal agencies and national nonprofits and foundations on Monday and Tuesday, June 15-16, 2015. The meetings were arranged with the assistance of Cc.

“The purpose of this trip is to not only inform federal departments of the work Brownsville is already doing, but to also gain insight into how the City can further access federal funding for projects,” said Stephanie Reyes, Brownsville assistant city manager. “Brownsville currently has a number of transportation, quality of life and infrastructure plans in the works, and we must be strategic about leveraging resources in order to bring them to fruition.”

The departments of Grant Management & Community Development, Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport and Brownsville Metro will be joining Ms. Reyes in the nation’s capital. Topics of discussion include the airport’s runway expansion, new terminal and security measures, housing programs and grants, Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, increased funding for bus and bus facilities programs, and My Brother’s Keeper initiative.

The group will be meeting with representatives from the White House, U.S. Economic Development Administration, NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) Foundation, U.S. Department of Transportation, My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), KaBOOM!, and several U.S. Representatives.

Brownsville Butterfly Walk

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Butterfly Walk: Thursday, January 1, 2015 – Tuesday, June 30, 2015.

Watch and identify a variety of beautiful butterflies on a guided walk around the butterfly garden and hiking trails.

Click here to read more on this event.

Brownsville Named Bicycling Capital of the RGV by Texas Legislature

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The Texas Legislature passed House Concurrent Resolution (HCR) 132 recognizing Brownsville the Bicycling Capital of the Rio Grande Valley on Monday, June 1. The resolution was sponsored by Rep. Eddie Lucio III in the Texas House of Representatives.

The resolution reads in part, “the City of Brownsville has carried out an innovative program to promote bicycling, and in so doing, the city has become a well-known center for this healthy and environmentally friendly activity.”

“This is a significant milestone for Brownsville,” said Brownville Mayor Tony Martinez. “Although bicycling started out as a fun way to improve the health of our residents, it’s become a viable economic boost to our city. This resolution is a recognition of all of the work that our residents and community partners have done to make Brownsville a more active, vibrant city.”

Rep. Eddie Lucio III added, “I felt it was important to showcase the work being done in Brownsville because so often we overlook quality of life issues that add so much to a community’s progress. In this case, what began as a special project grew into a viable industry that continues to have a substantial impact on the lives of not only Brownsville residents, but the rest of the Rio Grande Valley and beyond.”

The resolution goes on to cite the adoption of a bicycle and trail master plan, Connecting Brownsville, the city’s 64 miles of bicycle trails and on-street bike lanes, CycloBia events, as well as the City’s recent designation as All-America City and Culture of Health Prize, as examples of the city’s progress toward become a bicycle friendly community.

Construction on FEMA Safe Rooms Progressing

A $27 million domed shelter is nearing completion at its location on FM 803 behind the Los Fresnos United school. Photo Courtesy of the Brownsville Herald.

A $27 million domed shelter is nearing completion at its location on FM 803 behind the Los Fresnos United school. Photo Courtesy of the Brownsville Herald.

Brownsville prepped its residents for the beginning of hurricane season through its annual fair last week at the main library branch on Central Boulevard.

The library acts as the city’s base of operations during disasters and houses the Office of Emergency Management and until recently it was due to expand its facilities by adding a temporary exhibit space that would double as a safe room in case of an emergency, like a hurricane.

Federal funds were going to help build four domed safe rooms approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the Southmost library and at FirstBaptistSchool, but as they dried up and deadlines approached, city officials instead settled on a single shell building being built at the BrownsvilleSportsPark.

Marina Zolezzi, director of the city’s grants department, said the foundation for the structure is being finalized and construction is expected to finish up next…

Read more at The Brownsville Herald.

Playground Grant Opportunity Calls for Public Participation on Conference Call

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Playground Grant Opportunity Calls for Public Participation on Conference Call
Two Brownsville city parks move into second phase of application

Brownsville citizens are being asked to participate in a conference call with representatives from KaBOOM! in the second phase of  the application process for a “Build It With KaBOOM!” playground grant. The grant award is approximately $90,000.

The process began with a “parks huddle” last month pitting each city district against each other in a friendly competition to decide which local park should be submitted with the grant application. Two parks were tied—Prax Orive Jr. (Sunrise) Park and Central Avenue Park—and both were submitted. Both parks were deemed to be in need of a new playscape and other improvements.

Once again, all residents are encouraged to continue their participation in the application process by joining one or both conference calls, and showing support for Brownsville and one or both of the identified parks. There are two conference calls scheduled:

Central Avenue Park                                      Prax Orive Jr. Park
Monday, June 1, 2015                                    Wednesday, June 3, 2015
2:30 p.m.                                                             noon

To participate in either of the conference calls, residents must contact Roxanna Rosas, grant writer, at (956) 548-6155 or Roxanna.rosas@cob.us, to sign up and receive the call-in number for the conference calls. Participating residents do not have to live in any particular district.

Notice of the grant award could take a month or longer.

Brownsville Hurricane Awareness Fair Set for May 28

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The City of Brownsville will host its annual Hurricane Awareness Fair from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 28, at the Brownsville Public Library, 2600 Central Blvd. The fair, hosted by the Brownsville Office of Emergency Management, is designed to educate residents about the dangers of hurricanes and combat public complacency.

For the convenience of residents wishing to attend the fair, free shuttle service will be provided from the Southmost Branch Library at 4320 Southmost Road to the Central Library beginning at 3:30 p.m. The shuttles will circulate between the libraries until 9 p.m., ending at the Southmost location.

The fair will provide information to homeowners and residents about the importance of being prepared at home, at work and throughout the community, and reduce property damage from the next storm, should one come.

Speakers from the National Weather Service, American Red Cross, Brownsville Public Utilities Board, Valley Proud, and Brownsville Public Works, will present necessary information to help residents plan for any emergency. Snacks and door prizes, including three generators, will also be provided.

City officials recommend creating disaster kits include one to three gallons of water per person per day as well as non-perishable high-calorie foods, a first aid kit and manual, emergency contact list, blankets, sturdy gloves, can opener, five days of any needed medications, extra cash, duct tape, map for evacuation, large garbage bags, a crescent wrench for utility shutoff, food and water for pets, radio, flashlight and extra batteries. Additionally, important papers should be kept in a waterproof container or bag.

Last year, more than 2,500 residents attended the hurricane awareness fair.

Stephen Clark Visits City of Brownsville

The City of Brownsville is hosting Stephen Clark, Bicycle Friendly Community Specialist, with the League of American Bicyclists tomorrow, April 28, 2015. Brownsville has been selected as a priority city for 2015 by the League of American Bicyclists.

Mr. Clark is visiting Brownsville to assess whether the city should be nationally recognized as a “Bicycle Friendly Community.” Mr. Clark will join city staff and community leaders on a 16-mile bicycle tour through the city before making a presentation highlighting his assessment to the public from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Market Square.

Who: Stephen Clark, League of American Bicyclists

What:  Meet & Greet

When:  Noon to 1 p.m., Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Where:  JT Cycling, 1601 E. Alton Gloor Blvd., Suite 107

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