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Rio Grande City to receive nearly $5 million in federal funds


Rio Grande City receives almost $5 million from USDA.



RIO GRANDE CITY — The city has received help in its goal to grow and compete with cities around the Rio Grande Valley in the form of nearly $5 million from the federal government.

U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar presented awards from the Department of Agriculture to the Rio Water Supply Corporation and the Rio Grande City Economic Development Corporation for their respective projects.

“Starr County is growing, which is why we’re here,” Cuellar said.



The Rio Water Supply was awarded $4.36 million in grants and a $293,000 loan.

The funds are to pay for a project to replace old water lines that date from 1966 and install a water tower.

“It’s really significant for Rio Water Supply users because we have been having severe outages for water due to major leaks,” Guerra said. “And replacing this is going to create fewer leaks so we can have more water available to our customers.”

The first phase, which was finalized in 2014 and also funded through a USDA grant, consisted of the construction of their water plant.

The second phase includes construction of an elevated water tower and new infrastructure that will loop the entire system.

Guerra said they will be going out for bids for the second phase in January.

The Rio Grande City 4B Economic Development Corporation received a $300,000 grant that will allow it to purchase land for a small business incubator, according to Dalinda Guillen, executive director of the Rio Grande City EDC.



“We get businesses at our door almost every day looking for some sort of support,” Guillen said. So we put this together in an application to USDA asking for them to consider us as a funding investment so that we can do more to help our small business community in that way.”

She referred to Mission’s Center for Education and Economic Development as an example of a facility focused on helping small businesses thrive.

However, while Mission’s new facility focuses more on technology, Guillen said they are still trying find their niche, which they hope to do as the project develops.

Guillen was not able to disclose the future site of the facility as plans are still in its infancy.

“But we do know there is a need for support to our local small businesses,” she said.