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McAllen 2011 | imagesmcallen.com

Texas

Now, the Next 100 Years City reflects on rich past

ACTION FIGURES Entertainment and recreation prosper

BOOM! Business climate ranks among nation’s best

What’s Online  Sink your teeth into some of McAllen’s favorite cuisine.

sponsored by the McAllen Chamber of Commerce


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McAllen 2011 edition | volume 9

Texas

co nte nt s F e atu r e s 10 action figures

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Entertainment and recreation prosper.

14 now, the next 100 Years

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City reflects on rich past.

18 Boom! Business climate ranks among nation’s best.

d e pa r tm e nt s 6 Almanac 22 Biz Briefs 24 Chamber Report 25 Economic Profile 26 Gallery 30 Local Flavor 32 Arts & Culture 34 Education 36 Sports & Recreation 38 Health & Wellness 40 Community Profile

on the cover Photo by Jeff Adkins The Irrigation Worker in McAllen

All or part of this magazine is printed on recycled paper containing 10% post-consumer waste.

Please recycle this magazine

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Valley International Airport in Harlingen, Texas – the answer to your travel needs!

More features. More of what you like. Valley International Airport gives you more services and options than ever before. • On-site car rentals, shops and restaurants • Complimentary Wi-Fi • VIA V.I.P. Club, complimentary for our frequent flyers

(956) 430-8600 www.flythevalley.com

• KidsPort Play Area • NAFTA Cargo Hub • U.S. Customs and Border Protection Station • Shuttle Service to South Padre Island

TEXAS | EAST COAST | WEST COAST | THE WORLD


McAllen Tex as

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Project Manager Courtney Seiter Proofreading Manager Raven Petty Content Coordinator Jessica Walker Staff Writer Kevin Litwin Copy Editors Lisa Battles, Jill Wyatt Contributing writers Melanie Hill, Carson O’Shoney, Tiffany Williams Media Technology Director Christina Carden Senior Graphic Designers Laura Gallagher, Jessica Manner, Janine Maryland, Kris Sexton, Candice Sweet, Vikki Williams Media Technology Analysts Chandra Bradshaw, lance Conzett, Michele Niccore, Marcus Snyder Photography Director Jeffrey S. Otto Senior Photographers Jeff Adkins, Brian McCord Staff Photographers Todd Bennett, Antony Boshier Web Content Managers John Hood, Kim Madlom Web project manager noy fongnaly Web Design Director Franco Scaramuzza Web Designer Leigh Guarin Web developer i Yamel Hall Ad Production Manager Katie Middendorf Ad Traffic Assistants Krystin Lemmon, Patricia Moisan I.T. Director Yancey Bond I.T. support technician bryan foriest Regional Sales Manager Chris Sweeney Sales Support/Community, Business, Custom Rachael Goldsberry Senior Accountant Lisa Owens Accounts Payable Coordinator Maria McFarland Accounts Receivable Coordinator Diana Guzman Office Manager/Accounts Receivable Coordinator Shelly Miller Integrated Media Manager David Moskovitz Sales Support Manager Cindy Hall color imaging technician Alison Hunter Chairman Greg Thurman President/Publisher Bob Schwartzman Executive Vice President Ray Langen Senior V.P./Sales Todd Potter, Carla Thurman Senior V.P./Operations Casey Hester Senior V.P./Client Development Jeff Heefner V.p./External Communications Teree Caruthers V.P./Custom Publishing Kim Newsom V.P./Visual Content Mark Forester V.P./Content Operations Natasha Lorens V.P./Sales Charles Fitzgibbon, Herb Harper, Jarek Swekosky Controller Chris Dudley Content Director/Travel Publications Susan Chappell Content Director/Business Publications Bill McMeekin Marketing Creative Director Keith Harris Distribution Director Gary Smith Executive Secretary Kristy Duncan Human Resources Manager Peggy Blake Receptionist Linda Bishop

Photos See more photos in our online photo gallery

McAllen 2011 | IMaGesMCalleN.COM

Texas

Now, the Next 100 Years

Get the inside scoop from our photographers’ blog

City reflects on rich past

aCTION FIGURes Entertainment and recreation prosper

McAllen is published annually by Journal Communications Inc. and is distributed through the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. For advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications Inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by e-mail at info@jnlcom.com. For more information, contact: McAllen Chamber of Commerce 1200 Ash Avenue • McAllen, TX 78501 Phone: (956) 682-2871 • Fax: (956) 687-2917 www.mcallenchamber.com Visit McAllen online at imagesmcallen.com ©Copyright 2010 Journal Communications Inc., 725 Cool Springs Blvd., Suite 400, Franklin, TN 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member

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Facts & Stats Dig deeper with in-depth data on industries, schools and more

BOOM! Business climate ranks among nation’s best

What’s Online sink your teeth into some of Mcallen’s favorite cuisine.

spONsORed BY The McalleN ChaMBeR OF COMMeRCe

Get a moving glimpse at favorite local places and attractions

Digital edition

Real estate

Easily share articles and photos on Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail

Video

Learn about the local housing market and get started finding your place

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Almanac

Welcome to McAllen An introduction to the area’s people, places and events

Birds of a Feather Quinta Mazatlan is a 1930s Spanish Revival country estate in the heart of McAllen, and the adobe hacienda is surrounded by lush tropical landscaping and native woodland. It can serve as an interesting conference and events center but is also an urban oasis where quiet trails wind through more than 15 acres of birding habitat. It attracts many of the favorite Valley species from around the country, including Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Green Jays, Plain Chachalacas and Olive Sparrows. The grounds also feature bird-feeding stations and a hummingbird lane.

Take Note Great music in a great outdoor climate? Sounds good. The McAllen Chamber of Commerce and the City of McAllen host the Music Afterhours Outdoor Concert Series, a free series that happens twice a month from October through May. On the first Friday of every month, audiences experience a variety of musical sounds at historic Archer Park on Main Street in the Arts District. On third Fridays, Music Afterhours occurs at the McAllen Convention Center bandstand, located on the east side of the reflection pool.

Hispanic Heritage The majority of McAllen’s population – nearly 90 percent – is Hispanic. Meanwhile, more than 100 of the Fortune 500’s global manufacturers have operations in McAllen or just across the border in Reynosa, Mexico. The Hispanic influence in McAllen is immense, and one of the community’s biggest celebrations each year is PalmFest. McAllen is known as the City of Palms, so every October nearly 30,000 people pack the McAllen Convention Center grounds to celebrate Hispanic culture and the history of Deep South Texas. PalmFest features Hispanic music, ethnic foods, authentic cultural entertainment and children’s activities.

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Fast Facts Going to the Dogs McAllen Dog Park is a spacious area for dogs to run and their owners to mingle. The park is at Tamarack Avenue and 5th Street and is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day – it is lighted after dark.

n The Renaissance Casa de Palmas Hotel was built in 1918 and reflects McAllen’s colorful past. n People come from all over the world to compete in the Valley Land Fund South Texas Shootout photo contest, held since 1994. n There are more than 600 restaurants within the city limits of McAllen. n More than 100 of the Fortune 500’s global manufacturers have operations in McAllen or across the border in Reynosa. n The Los Ebanos Ferry is the last hand-operated ferry on the U.S.Mexico border.

Sounds Great

Extra Credit

For an astounding aural experience, take in a performance of the Valley Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra that was founded in 1952 also has a chorale and performs six concerts annually at the McAllen Civic Center Auditorium. Seasons run from September through April. The symphony also supports education programs such as Success Thru Strings, as well as low-cost concerts for Valley students. It also supports a South Texas Youth Symphony that brings 75 of the most talented orchestral middle school and high school students to learn and perform at the highest level.

South Texas College has been around since 1993 and now has five campuses throughout Hidalgo and Starr counties. The student enrollment has surpassed 22,000 and there is a faculty and staff of more than 1,800. South Texas College offers comprehensive courses for college transfer to four-year institutions, as well as vocational, technical and continuing education programs.

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Get the story

behind the

photo Now that you've experienced McAllen through our photos, see it through the eyes of our photographers. Visit imagesmcallen.com to view our exclusive photographers' blog documenting what all went in to capturing those perfect moments.

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McAllen At A Glance The Fun District

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Edinburg Rio

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Mission

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Pharr

Weslaco

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Harlingen rlin ing UNITED STATES

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Reynosa R o osa

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Rio G Grande MEXICO

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Ready for a night out on the town? Residents and visitors of McAllen enjoy a variety of pubs, clubs, lounges and restaurants in McAllen’s Heart of the City, which runs primarily along 17th Street. The district has something for every taste and has a convenient and safe place to park in the McAllen Downtown Parking Garage. As for entertainment, the district has attractions such as Broadway in McAllen, the McAllen Symphonic Band, South Texas Lyric Opera, and the International Museum of Arts and Science.

Brownsville ow wn v

Matamoros

Population (2009 estimate) McAllen: 126,411 Greater McAllen Area: 741,152 Location McAllen is in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, 70 miles west of the Gulf of Mexico. Beginnings The city of McAllen was unofficially founded in 1904 and incorporated in 1911. For More Information McAllen Chamber of Commerce 1200 Ash Ave. McAllen, TX 78501 Phone: (956) 682-2871 Fax: (956) 687-2917 www.mcallenchamber.com

McAllen

What’s Online  Take a virtual tour of McAllen, courtesy of our award-winning photographers, at imagesmcallen.com.

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Now

Playing in McAllen

Entertainment, shopping and recreation are endless in this young city

What’s Online  Go to imagesmcallen.com and click on “recreation” to read more about McAllen’s recreational activities.

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Story By Melanie Hill Photography By Jeff Adkins

M

cAllen is young – and young at heart. With a median age of 27, the border city is a hub for nightlife, shopping and recreation in the Rio Grande Valley. Steve Ahlenius, President and Chief Executive Officer of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, says the city’s low cost of living and year-round tropical climate attract countless young families and singles, including the 50,000 higher education students who call Hidalgo County home. “The region’s student population has been a huge economic engine in terms of retail, restaurants, music and culture,” Ahlenius says. Nightlife When the sun goes down in McAllen, party-goers hit the 17th Street nightlife district, where more than 40 restaurants, lounges and nightclubs line trendy city streets. From the ultra-modern, bamboo-wrapped walls of the popular Lumen Lounge to the unforgettable fine dining of The Patio on Guerra, the entertainment district offers something for everyone. Music Music and arts are a vital part of the culture in McAllen, and few venues showcase that passion more than PalmFest, an international folklife celebration held each fall at the

Martinis are the drink of choice at Lumen Lounge in the 17th Street nightlife district in McAllen.

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McAllen Convention Center outdoor festival grounds. The event draws tens of thousands with nonstop music, entertainment, food and activities for the entire family. Shopping And with the best retail selection in the Valley, McAllen is also a destination for millions of hard-core shoppers from across Texas and Mexico. More than 40 shopping centers and a plethora of high-end, discount and specialty boutiques in downtown McAllen offer shoppers popular brands combined with one-of-a-kind items unique to south Texas. And with 600-plus restaurants serving every possible culinary genre, the toughest part of shopping is deciding where to eat afterward. McAllen Parks and Recreation Picture-perfect temperatures make McAllen an unbeatable outdoor destination. The McAllen Parks and Recreation Department maintains 25 city parks designed to get kids

of all ages up and moving. In 2010, the department celebrated the opening of McAllen’s Park and Spray Ground, located at 29th and Zinnia. The 20-acre park includes a child-friendly playing surface with automated spray features, a sand volleyball court, skateboard area, a half basketball court and 0.6 miles of walking trails. Other features include athletic practice fields, pavilions, picnic shelters and restroom facilities. “The park has been extremely successful, with visitors playing from the time it opens to the time it closes,” says Sally Gavlik, Director of the McAllen Parks and Recreation Department. “It’s become a very vital aspect of the community.” Set to open in 2011 is Firemen’s Park, located at First and Business 83. Guests will enjoy capabilities for overnight camping and a 10-acre man-made lake ideal for fishing, kayaking and canoeing. “Parks are extremely vital here, and add to the quality of life for visitors who can go from one to the other and really experience a variety of activities,” Gavlik says.

From left to right: Children play in the automated spray features at McAllen’s new Park and Spray Ground; Mickey Pena skates the rails and jumps at Park and Spray Ground; Leslie Garza admires the display room at Stilo Design.

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McAllen, 100 Years Later Heading into the future, the city reflects on its rich past

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Story By Melanie Hill

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cAllen, Texas, is a city worth celebrating. And few events call for celebration quite like the city’s 100th anniversary on Feb. 13, 2011. “Over the last three decades, McAllen has grown into a center for business, commerce and government in the Rio Grande Valley, and it is one of the fastest-growing metropolitan statistical areas in the country,” says Texas senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of McAllen. “The citizens of McAllen are justifiably proud of their city, which has played a significant role in the annals of Texas history.”

100 Years of History Though the city’s namesake, John McAllen arrived in the Rio Grande

Valley in the early 1850s, it wasn’t until 1911 that the city of McAllen was incorporated, giving its 150 residents a well-earned place in Texas history. Valley writer Eileen Mattei helped commemorate the occasion with the historical book, Leading the Way: McAllen’s First 100 Years. Months of research led Mattei to memorable stories about the people who took McAllen from a rural south Texas border town to a thriving, worldrenowned destination for families, businesses and visitors. “History is really about the people who helped take part in the events, and that’s what this book is looking at,” Mattei says. “When something was needed, be it a water well, hotel, public housing or foreign-trade zone, individuals put up the money to make it happen.

Residents underwrote crucial parts of the city’s development – things that have really helped it move forward.” McAllen’s Milestones The hardcover keepsake book, commissioned by and available through the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, features more than 250 historical photographs of the city’s earliest residents and landmarks, and highlights significant events in the city’s colorful history. In 1916, for example, 12,000 military troops settled into McAllen, far outnumbering the city’s 1,200 residents. “The event really changed the city’s outlook on what retail could do, and gave them an idea of what the city’s potential was,” Mattei says. “It triggered a tremendous spurt in retail operations

The cover of the book Leading the Way: McAllen’s First 100 Years

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photos by Jeff Adkins

“History is really about the people who helped take part in the events … Residents underwrote crucial parts of the city’s development – things that have really helped it move forward.”

and made residents look ahead.” Other milestones include the 1959 construction of the McAllen Convention and Civic Center, the 1960 purchase of the international suspension bridge across the Rio Grande and the 1976 opening of La Plaza Mall, destined to become one of the most productive shopping malls in the United States. Another key event – the 1973 establishment of the nation’s first inland foreign-trade zone – boosted McAllen to the international center for

commerce that it is today. In 2007, the 18.5-acre McAllen Convention Center opened, featuring a 60,000-square-foot exhibit hall and more than 25,000 square feet of meeting space. And in 2008, the McAllen Heritage Center opened to the public in downtown McAllen’s La Placita Building, showcasing McAllen’s historic past through artwork, documents, pictures and writings. It’s one of the many ways the city is preserving its rich history while gearing up for the next 100 years.

Clockwise from far left: McAllen’s new Convention Center; The old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, built in 1927, on Bicentennial Boulevard in downtown McAllen; The McAllen Heritage Center in downtown’s La Placita Building; La Plaza Mall

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Border Town McAllen’s business climate ranks among the nation’s best

Story By Melanie Hill

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usiness is booming in McAllen. Despite a tough national economy, the city is leading the way in population and job growth, claiming its place as the preferred site for companies locating along the United States/Mexico border. “McAllen is unique because of its location, which has helped create an economy based on a young population and skill set,” says Keith Patridge, president and chief executive officer of the McAllen Economic Development Corporation. The not-for-profit works to create jobs by attracting new industry and helping existing companies expand.

McAllen Ranks High in Business, Population Recognized by Forbes magazine as one of the most resilient major metro areas for employment, McAllen also ranks as one of the most cost-efficient American cities for doing business. In 2009, CNNMoney.com recognized McAllen among its Best Places to Launch a Small Business. And with a total population of 1.7 million, the McAllen metropolitan area is one of the fastest-growing metros in the state, thanks in large part to cross-border economic development with neighboring Reynosa, Mexico, which is located just 4 miles south. Under American and Mexican

laws and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provisions, the McAllen ForeignTrade Zone designation offers specific cost-saving opportunities to manufacturers, including warehousing and storage, materials handling and manipulation, and tailor-made services such as training and traffic control. According to the MEDC, the Greater McAllen/Reynosa metro region boasts an unofficial population of about 2 million people. The maquiladora program, which operates under Mexico but is facilitated by tax laws in the United States, has allowed more than 200 Mexican and foreign-owned manufacturing

McAllen has been recognized as being one of the best places to launch a small business.

Staff Photo

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Staff Photo

companies to open large-scale operations in Reynosa. Business in the Foreign-Trade Zone McAllen is represented by 40 of America’s top 100 retailers and more than 80 of Fortune 500’s global manufacturers. JVC USA is one of many global companies located in the ForeignTrade Zone. The company opened its product return center in McAllen in 2003 and, within the next seven years, relocated engineering, its customer call center and factory service center to the border city. Neal Rozelle, general manager for service and engineering at JVC USA, says the company hired more than 75 percent of its workforce locally, including engineers, administrators, quality control inspectors and technicians. “The primary factors that appealed to us were the strategically valuable location, access to a large, eager and capable workforce and access to valuable networking within

the robust maquiladora industry,” Rozelle says. “There are personal benefits as well. This is a good place to live and raise a family.” For more information about JVC USA, visit the website at www.jvc.com. Livability McAllen’s livability is evident in its numbers. In contrast to much of the nation, building permit values in Rio Grande Valley cities rose from $825 million in 2000 to almost $8.93 billion in 2008. McAllen leads the Valley with $159 million, and was ranked highest in the nation for affordable homes in Money magazine in 2006. “In today’s economy, the importance of an affordable place to live and work is more visible than ever,” Rozelle says. “This area offers great value.”

McAllen is known as an excellent place to raise a family and for its affordable homes.

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Biz Briefs Businesses – both large and small – that help define McAllen’s economic climate

Scorecard Business At A Glance

$3.5 billion Annual Retail Sales

$27,496 Retail Sales Per Capita

$82,819 Annual Retail Sales Per Household Source: mcallen.org

ALHAMBRA Biz: Restaurant Buzz: Alhambra is a Mediterranean and Mideast-themed restaurant, bar and hookah lounge. It is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday and features live music and a DJ. The restaurant serves appetizers such as white anchovy bruschetta and crispy calamari; entrees such as hummus and spiced lamb chops; and sweet treats such as coconut couscous pudding. www.alhambraon17th.com 22

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ART VILLAGE ON MAIN Biz: Artists’ rental spaces Buzz: Art Village on Main is a building constructed specifically for the artistic community. Tenants are able to rent studios, offices or galleries. Cantu Construction is behind the project and, besides the arts, there is space available for banking services, a restaurant and a multipurpose room. Spaces can also be rented and transformed into exhibits or event locations. www.cantuconstruction.com ABASTO CORPORATION Biz: Warehouse sales Buzz: Abasto is a leader in the sale and leasing of warehouses, ranging from 1,400 to 20,000 square feet. The company was founded in 1992 and offers warehouse space as close as 3 miles from the U.S./Mexico border bridge. In 1992, Abasto launched its first project in the U.S. – the McAllen Produce Terminal Market of Texas – and has since built more than 800 commercial warehouse complexes. www.mcallenwarehouse.com US FLOORS Biz: Flooring experts Buzz: US Floors/Flooring America has experts on staff who are trained in flooring sales and design, and will help individuals and companies find the ideal floors for the way they live. The nationwide 500-store buying power allows customers to receive low prices on thousands of carpet types and other flooring options. Flooring America showcases a large selection of carpet, hardwood, laminate and more. www.usfloorsfa.com RUSSO’S NEW YORK PIZZERIA Biz: Restaurant Buzz: The Russo family of New York decided to move their pizza operation to Texas in the early 1990s and opened its first restaurant in the Houston market. Today, Russo’s has 25 locations, including McAllen. The motto at Russo’s is, “If you can’t make it fresh, don’t serve it.” www.nypizzeria.com

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Chamber Report mcallen Chamber backs initiative for entrepreneurs

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he McAllen Chamber of Commerce has brainstormed a plan to back people who are brainstormers. The chamber has established an Inventors & Entrepreneurs Network

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that helps individuals or groups transform good ideas into eventual products and services, which could ultimately result in new businesses and jobs. On the fourth Thursday of every month from 6 to 8 p.m.,

the chamber’s office hosts an I&E Network meeting for the purpose of furthering the connections and networking opportunities for inventors and entrepreneurs. “Many times, creative people have an idea but feel alone or don’t know what to do with it, so we started this network to really push people beyond the conceptual stage,” says Steve Ahlenius, president and CEO of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “We provide information and discuss topics such as developing a business plan, patenting and funding options.” Ahlenius says the I&E Network was established in January 2010, and about 30 aspiring inventors and entrepreneurs attend each session. The monthly meeting can include small business counseling, market analysis, educational seminars and business plan competitions. The chamber has also secured $50,000 for innovation grants as well as $25,000 for small business grants, and Ahlenius points out that one McAllen group in the program is already close to becoming a success story. “That group is working on a concept for a new kind of baby bottle washer, and it is currently going through the required steps to secure a patent,” he says. “They started by attending an I&E Network meeting, then developed a concept in terms of a business plan, made an application for an innovation grant and were awarded $10,000 to go toward their patent filings and eventual manufacturing.” Ahlenius says anyone in McAllen or surrounding communities who wishes to attend an I&E Network session is encouraged to do so. For more information on the I&E Network or to make a reservation to attend a meeting, call the McAllen Chamber of Commerce at (956) 682-2871. – Kevin Litwin


economic profile Economic Overview The McAllen MSA was ranked first in Forbes 2009 best mid-sized cities for jobs. McAllen was ranked second in the nation for income growth and first for job growth in 2009.

income

Per Capita Income

McAllen Heart of the City 220 S. 17th St. McAllen, Texas 78501 (956) 686-4357 www.mcallenheartofthecity.com

$41,580

Transportation

$16,069 Average Annual Household Expenditure

McAllen-Miller International Airport 2500 S. Bicentennial Blvd. McAllen, Texas 78503 (956) 682-9101 www.mcallenairport.com

Economic Resources

Taxes

2% City Sales and Use Tax

6.25% State Sales Tax

8.25% Total Sales Tax

workforce

39,362

McAllen Chamber of Commerce 1200 Ash Ave. McAllen, Texas 78501 (956) 682-2871 www.mcallenchamber.com McAllen Convention & Visitors’ Bureau (945) 682-2871 www.mcallencvb.com McAllen Economic Development Corporation 6401 S. 33rd St. McAllen, Texas 78503 (956) 682-2875 www.medc.org

McAllen Express Transit 1500 W. Business Highway 83 McAllen, Texas 78501 (956) 688-3500 McAllen/Hidalgo International Bridge 1023 International Blvd. Hidalgo, Texas 78557 (956) 843-2471 www.mcallen.net/bridge Greyhound/Valley Transit Company (956) 686-5479 www.valleytransitcompany.com www.greyhound.com Amtrak www.amtrak.com

Total Workforce

major employers

80% Percentage White Collar

Edinburg Consolidated I.S.D.

3,600

20%

McAllen Independent School District

3,595

Edinburg Regional Medical Center

3,000

University of Texas Pan American

2,850

McAllen Medical Center

2,800

Percentage Blue Collar

education

Hidalgo County

2,211

Mission Consolidated I.S.D.

2,140

Associate Degree

City of McAllen

1,801

15%

Columbia Rio Grande Regional Hospital

21% Bachelor’s Degree

South Texas College

975 811

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Image Gallery

What’s Online  Visit imagesmcallen.com to see more award-winning photography highlighting the places and people in McAllen.

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The sun sets over McAllen, Texas. Photo by Jeff Adkins

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Flowers at the Quinta Mazatlan house Photo by Jeff Adkins

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Art by Kim Snyder Johnson at the McA2 Creative Incubator Staff Photo

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A Treat for the Taste Buds McAllen has flavorsome favorites from all over the world McAllen has many restaurants and eateries to satisfy almost any food craving, including a wide variety of international cuisine. Whether it’s original Texas favorites or something more worldly you crave, get ready to saddle up for a round-the-world adventure without ever having to leave the city.

photo by Jeff Adkins

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tex-mex

wine

Starting off close to home, Tex-Mex eatery Costa Messa Restaurant offers authentic Mexican cuisine, with menu favorites such as the botana platter, which consists of chips, beans, cheese, your choice of beef or chicken, fried zucchini, quesadillas and rice, making each visit a sizzling good time.

If it’s delectable wines you desire, you can toast to the memory of a free republic every night at the Republic of the Rio Grande Grill and Cantina, where scrumptious steaks and tasty wines pervade the menu. Whether dining inside their white mission walls or outside on their flame-lit patio, patrons can enjoy the taste of the Chateau Saint Cyrgues Meritage or a ripe Kendall Jackson Pinot Noir with any lunch or dinner.

For authentic Argentinian cooking, try La Pampa, which specializes in Argentinean steaks. Popular fine dining restaurants include Bistro M and Venetian Fine Dining, which let you escape into a world of elegant relaxation. Live music on a baby grand piano allows Bistro M to set the tone of the night, with European chef and owner Marcel Fortuin always cooking up something fresh. At Venetian Fine Dining, you can kick back and enjoy a decadent menu devoted to Mediterranean cuisine. Also offering a taste of the Mediterranean is Espana Mediterranean Cuisine. Roll on over to Japan and try an Eclipse Roll at Kumori. Taste buds still craving more? Well mosey on over to the Taste of India, Sahadi Specialty Foods or Onyx.

Left: Desert at Bistro M Top right: Filet mignon with grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes at Republic of the Rio Grande Bottom right: Bistro M features European cuisine.

Catering and Organic Options Tired yet? Well, no worries. JRow’s Catering brings the food to you. Prepared fresh using the highest-quality ingredients, JRow’s makes any function a delicious hit. McAllen also has a variety of organic and fresh food markets that are sure to help you muster up some energy. Clemmon’s Orchard, Norm’s Farmers Market and the McAllen Farmers Market give sensible patrons an opportunity to enjoy fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables, as well as an array of farm favorites. – Tiffany Williams

Jeff Adkins

McAllen Fine Dining and International Restaurants

Staff Photo

Local Flavor

For More Information Costa Messa Restaurant www.costamessarestaurant.com

taste of india tasteofiiamcallentx.com

Bistro M www.bistrom.net

republic of the rio grande www.republicgrill.com

Venetian Fine Dining www.venetianfinedining.com

jrow’s, www.jrowscatering.com

kumori www.kumori-sushi.com

brownsville farmers market http://agnews.tamu.edu/ showstory.php?id+2100

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Art Abounds An array of art and culture activities are found in McAllen

Discover the rich heritage and mixed culture of a city bustling with life through the many art and culture offerings in McAllen, Texas. Straddling the U.S.-Mexico border, this progressive city offers some of the best cultural activities in the state.

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Arts & Culture

entertainment in mcallen

Historic Sites

McAllen’s downtown 17th Street Entertainment District is filled with galleries, restaurants, nightclubs and more. And located at its center is the historic Cine El Rey Theater, which functions as a music and performance venue and screens Spanish and English language independent features. Music in McAllen is performed by the Valley Symphony Orchestra & Chorale. Similarly, the South Texas Lyric Opera brings the fine art of opera to the Rio Grande Valley with a yearly slate of productions and an annual opera gala.

The Museum of South Texas History and McAllen Heritage Center are just a few of the places to learn about the rich history of this bicultural city as well as other nearby areas. Quinta Mazatlan, a 1930s hacienda, embodies the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture of arches, beams and carvings, and provides an intimate look into south Texas history. Set in formal tropical landscaping‚ this 10,000-square-foot mansion hosts a mix of native and exotic plants and wildlife and makes up one section of the popular World Birding Center. – Tiffany Williams

chamber support The chamber of commerce shows its love for the arts in other ways, too. Its McA2 Creative Incubator houses studios and more for artists of all genres to utilize at low, reasonable costs. And it sponsors Broadway in McAllen, featuring Broadway shows performed at the civic center or State Farm Arena.

Visual Arts and Festivals

Right: A historic bell is on display at the Museum of South Texas History.

Jeff Adkins

The fascinating International Museum of Art & Science promotes a deeper appreciation for the arts and sciences through its exhibitions, cultural events and many educational programs. The McAllen Art Walk is a self-guided tour that gives art lovers the opportunity to explore the many art offerings in one of the oldest parts of the city. The tour is free and open to the public. The Candlelight Posada offers food booths, luminaries, twinkling lights, caroling and a live nativity scene every in December.

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College Readiness McAllen offers quality education options, college prep

Parents, take your pick: McAllen has the school to suit all your child’s educational needs, whether your child is pint-sized and packing a lunch, or all grown up and headed to History 101. With many of the school districts in the area offering early college preparation courses and programs, local little ones will be ready to hit the dorm rooms in no time.

University of Texas-Pan American photos by Jeff Adkins

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McAllen Area School Districts

College Prep and Technical Training

The Achieve Early College High School program is offered through the McAllen Independent School District in partnership with South Texas College. The program allows 400 students to complete high school on the college’s Pecan Campus in McAllen, and gives them an opportunity to earn up to 60 hours of college credit at no cost to students or their families. Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District and Hidalgo Independent School District both offer similar programs.

While South Texas College partners with several of the school districts, it also offers traditional college programs, a nursing and allied health campus, and a technology campus in McAllen, as well as workforce training centers. The school is also one of only two in the state accredited to offer bachelor of technology degrees. La Joya Independent School District has a College and Career Center, and Sharyland and Valley View independent school districts provide students Advanced Placement options.

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International Education Something unique to the McAllen Independent School District is its International Baccalaureate Program, which offers students three programs focusing on international education. The three programs are the Diploma Programme, which is a course of preuniversity studies, the Middle Years Programme and the Primary Years Programme. The goal is to teach students the skills they need to live and work in a globalized world.


Education

McAllen Area Parent Participation

University Degrees in South Texas

Just north of McAllen is Edinburg, where the Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District offers 27 elementary schools, five middle schools, three high schools and one alternative campus. Encompassing a massive 945 square miles, ECISD is one of the largest school districts in the nation. Its ENCORE Parent College Readiness Forum Program helps students keep a progressive interest in college by providing a combination of teacher and parental support.

Also located in Edinburg is the University of Texas–Pan American. Opening its doors in 1927, UTPA offers 57 bachelors degrees, 57 master’s degrees, three doctoral degrees and two cooperative doctoral programs within six colleges. The university is dedicated to the academic advancement of its students and prides itself on providing them an affordable education and global opportunities. – Tiffany Williams

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Fun With No Borders McAllen recreation ranges from golf to ice skating McAllen, Texas, is a border city that’s never boring. Residents can enjoy the many city parks and golf courses, cheer on their favorite local sports teams, and even go ice skating in south Texas. Golf With nearly 20 courses in the McAllen area, it’s safe to say that golf is a popular attraction. One of the most notable courses is the Palm View Golf Course, a public course with a private feel. With rolling fairways and Bermuda rough mounds, the course is a popular location for professional and amateur tournaments, as it has previously hosted LPGA tournaments and Amateur Golf Championships. Private courses are also plentiful in the area. McAllen Country Club gives players from all skill levels a challenge, and also offers a swimming pool and tennis courts. Other courses surround the city in nearby towns, including Cimarrón Golf Resort in Mission, Los Lagos Golf Club in Edinburg, Tierra Santa Golf Club in Weslaco, and Tierra Del Sol Golf Course in Pharr. Every golf course in the area is constantly bustling week in and week out, especially in the winter, when “Winter Texans” come to the Rio Grande Valley. The weather generally stays in the 70s in the winter months, making it a perfect place for winter golfing.

McAllen Country Club

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photos by Jeff Adkins

Hiking and Biking McAllen residents enjoy plenty of hiking and biking trails on the east and west sides of town, and cyclists can meet up with the help of Team McAllen Cycling, a bike club that’s been in the city for more than 25 years.


Sports & Recreation

Parks

Other Sports

The Parks Division of the Parks & Recreation Department currently oversees 25 city parks in McAllen. Archer Park, McAllen’s oldest, serves as a historic landmark and also plays host to many of the city’s annual special events. One of the newest additions to the park system is Los Encinos Community Park, which has become a great place to play many different sports. McAllen’s largest city park is Springfest Park, which hosts many special city events and is home to McAllen’s Winter Polo League. Other parks include Westside, Suarez, Garza, Las Palmas and Cascade parks, each with their own special features.

Sports fans have plenty to cheer for, with minor league or semi-pro teams in basketball, football, baseball, hockey and soccer. Hockey fans cheer on the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. Basketball fans have the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to root for. The Rio Grande Valley Bravos is

the Valley’s only soccer team. The Edinburg Roadrunners are members of United League Baseball, a professional baseball league not affiliated with Major League Baseball. The Rio Grande Speedway hosts stock car races and the Frio Grande Valley Ice Center is fun for ice skating and much more. – Carson O’Shoney

Jogging along the 2nd Street Hike and Bike trail in McAllen

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A Hub For Health Care McAllen offers a variety of medical options

Whichever type of health-care program or treatment one seeks, finding it in McAllen is easy. The McAllen area has several major hospitals and medical centers, each offering a broad range of health services.

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McAllen Medical Center Opening in 1919, McAllen Medical Center serves as the Valley’s longest operating health-care facility, offering 441 beds and a staff of more than 400 physicians representing more than 50 medical specialties. There is also a Level III Trauma Center and a variety of services ranging from a birthing center to diabetes management to endocrinology.


Health & Wellness

Rio Grande Regional Hospital Rio Grande Regional Hospital also has a keen focus on the little ones, performing the first pediatric open-heart surgery in the Valley in 2009 at its Pediatric Pavilion. With 66 beds, a pediatric ICU and a Pediatric Step-Down Unit, the Pediatric Pavilion also undertakes procedures such as cochlear implants and electrophysiology. The hospital is well known for patient safety and clinical excellence. Its 320-bed, full-service acute care medical facility has more than 500 physicians representing more than 35 specialties, and serves as the only Accredited Diabetes Management Center in the area.

Another medical center serving McAllen is the 506-bed Doctors Hospital at Renaissance. Since opening its doors in 1997 as an outpatient surgical center, the hospital has grown into a complete acute care facility. Today, it provides a full range of medical and surgical services, including cardiology, neurosurgery, endocrinology, and has a Pediatric Medical Tower that provides pediatric oncology and pediatric ICU services. – Tiffany Williams

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance

Staff Photo

Doctors Hospital at Renaissance

50 Number of medical specialties practiced at McAllen Medical Center

2009 Year the first pediatric open-heart surgery was performed at Rio Grande Regional

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community profile Community Overview McAllen is an area with a burgeoning arts culture. The city is known statewide for the quality and quantity of its artists.

household information

126,411 Total Population

29 time zone Central

Climate Overview

49 F Winter Low Temperature

$44,612

54%

$123,286

Married

Median Home Price

46%

$718 Median Rent for a Two-Bedroom Apartment

35.27% Age 19 and Under

47.37% Age 20-54

17.36% Age 55 and Over

Summer High Temperature

transportation

Annual Rain Fall (vs. National Average Annual Rain Fall of 37�)

cost of living

Median Household Income

96 F 23�

46.7

Median Resident Age

Single

McAllen has a semi-tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 74 degrees. Its mild winters and warm summers make it a perfect destination for both tourists and retirees.

size in square miles

17 minutes Median Travel Time to Work

visit our

advertisers AEP Texas www.aep.com City of McAllen Public Information Office www.exploremcallen.net Copy Graphics www.copyg.com Embassy Suites www.embassysuites.com Family Physicians Clinic www.familyphysiciansclinic.com

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Magic Valley Electric Cooperative www.magicvalley.coop McAllen EDC www.medc.org McAllen Independent School District www.mcallenisd.org McAllen International Airport www.mcallenairport.com Rio Grande Regional Hospital www.riogranderegionalhospital.com

Shepard Walton King www.shepardwaltonking.com St. Paul Lutheran Church & School www.stpaulmcallen.org Valley International Airport www.flythevalley.com


Family Practice with comPetence and integrity

cayetano e. Barrera, m.d. Fellow A.A.F.P.

homero rivas, m.d. Diplomate A.A.F.P. Fellow A.A.F.P.

daniel j. guerra, m.d., P.a. Diplomate A.A.F.P. Fellow A.A.F.P.

leonel g. moreno, m.d. Diplomate A.A.F.P. Fellow A.A.F.P.

Family Physicians clinic

valley night clinic

Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m.-Noon

Open Every Night of the Year 6 p.m.-Midnight

Since 1967

682-4515

606 S. Broadway • McAllen, TX

Since 1981

682-4515

606 S. Broadway • McAllen, TX

CommerCial ProPerty • auto • liability Workers’ ComPensation HomeoWners • life • HealtH

“You’ll Like the Way We Do Business” 801 N. Main 1906 E. Tyler, Ste. B P.O. Box 1630 P.O. Box 1830 McAllen, TX 78501 Harlingen, TX 78550 (956) 682-2841 (956) 423-8755 Fax: (956) 630-4015 Fax: (956) 423-0730 (800) 446-2471 (888) 423-8755 www.shepardwaltonking.com

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Ad Index

37 AEP Texas

23 City of McAllen Public Information Office

1 McAllen International Airport C2 Rio Grande Regional Hospital

41 Copy Graphics

20 Embassy Suites 41 Family Physicians Clinic

2 Magic Valley Electric Coop

41 Shepard Walton King

35 McAllen EDC

C4 McAllen Independent School District

24 St. Paul Lutheran Church & School 4 Valley International Airport



Images McAllen, TX 2011