|Robin McCaffrey, Architect, Urban Planner|
The more detailed fifteen page plan is ready for consideration and purchase should the three entities decide it should be implemented.(There was no mention of the cost of the study. Ramiro Gonzalez of Planning was not in the office when I called, but I will try to get that important detail.)
There is a sense of deja vu here as we recall the Imagine Brownsville Comprehensive Plan purchased for $900,000 from Carlos Marin's Ambiotec Engineering five years ago. In retrospect, that was a huge waste of tax dollars as the never implemented paperback plan now gathers dust on city shelves, obviously dated and unworkable. With a straight face, Ruben Gallegos, Jr. suggested that perhaps the United Brownsville Board, the last, unaccountable, bureaucratic vestige of the old Imagine Brownsville plan, oversee the consideration of McCaffrey's proposed development plan. City Attorney Mark Sossi nipped that suggestion in the bud, saying that United Brownsville meetings seldom achieved a quorum and that P.U.B., the Brownsville Navigation District and the GBIC simply needed to sit down together and decide if this plan was in the region's best interests.
|MMB Publisher with Robin McCaffrey|
McCaffrey preached to the choir as he stated that extending the airport runway to 12,000 feet and dredging out the ship channel were prerequisites to the plan's implementation.
Brownsville's uniqueness is that it has rail, air, sea and road transport and a border location according to McCaffrey. Infrastructure permitting, he claims Brownsville holds a competitive advantage over other U.S. locations and Mexico. McCaffrey estimates manufacturing companies employing 500 workers, using 100,000 kilowatts annually save $5,000,000 on labor in Mexico, but $16,000,000 on energy in Brownsville. The plan is that Brownsville be an a manufacturer, an exporter, not merely a transporter of goods. Steel plants particularly foster spin-off companies. McCaffrey's plan foresees an aggregation of industry, including manufacturing, but also lighter industry, even agri-based in what he calls an industrial corridor.
|Needham-McCaffrey Associates, Inc.|
Also at the GBIC meeting held Thursday, Administrator Jason Hilts said little had changed since the last meeting. SpaceX was still on hold pending results of the FAA's environmental study. The University of Texas systems is expected to help fund Stargate. In the next two weeks Hilts will be courting 35-50 south of the border investors. Project Sizzle is still pending as is the presence of a Finnish foundry.
City Planner Ramiro Gonzalez stated that building permits had been issued for a new WalMart at FM 802 and Hudson and that 1st Commercial Bank was also considering a new building. His department is filling two new positions.