Public input encouraged for new Mission, McAllen development

MISSION — A development company on Wednesday continued its efforts to gather public input on a residential and commercial development encompassing more than 3,000 acres between Mission and McAllen, inviting local residents to design this community themselves.

Killam Development, a Laredo-based company with a history of real estate development and ranching, announced in December that it acquired about 3,400 acres in the two cities from previous owners, Hunt Valley Development.

The company has held two workshops this week with city leaders and the public in order to gain input and design ideas on how to create a new community.

Killam began the collaborations this week where, in association with two other development firms, Dover, Kohl & Partners and Able City, invited the public to the Mission Center for Education and Economic Development to gather ideas and feedback for the project’s master plan.

A draft of the community with some public input was unveiled Wednesday evening, with the final draft expected to be presented Friday.

The weeklong event allowed those who participated to vote on various options from a wide range of community staples, such as different kinds of open spaces to the types of commercial business residents would like to see.

The voting process was rather simple. There were eight options to choose from as attendees were asked to place a green sticker on what they liked, and a red sticker on what they didn’t. Leslie Aboumrad, a project manager with Able City, spoke about why this occasion is so unique.

“It is such an amazing opportunity,” Aboumrad said. “It’s so much space that what we need from the community is to know what they would like in their own home, because it is a wasted opportunity if we just come in and do something that we consider…very interesting, but without the community’s input — not feeling like a home for them without having what they imagine about this place — it would be a huge failure.”

Aboumrad also emphasized on the importance of creating this community for all age groups to enjoy as well. One common addition attendees asking for were more green spaces, a rare sight for the Valley and something people of any age group would enjoy.

One attendee, Christian Saldaña, made the comparison to other cities in Texas.

“When I travel to Houston or Austin to visit family, I see that they have lots of open areas with trees and gardens,” Saldaña said. “I would like to see more areas like that for people to enjoy.”

Accompanying Saldaña was his friend, Monica Gomez, who brought up a unique and cultural addition that wasn’t available as an option provided by Killam.

“I would love to see a mural or areas with art that represent our culture,” Gomez said. “They have things like that in Mexico and I think that would make the community more attractive.”

Despite the final draft being presented Friday, Aboumrad mentions that there will still be opportunities for more feedback and changes in the future.

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