SPI City Council considered Conventions and Visitors Bureau funding requests, looked at guidelines for Economic Development Corporation projects, and created a water sport facility committee in its Sept 7 meeting.
Gary Glick, of Friends of RGV Reef, made a brief presentation to council during the public comment and announcements portion of the meeting. He spoke about grants the organization has applied for and their potential positive economic impact based on the success of a similar project in another state. “RGV Reef is huge,” he said, “It is by far and away the biggest reef in the state of Texas. We can duplicate that here. If we win these grants, we can put down the kind of material that will generate those kind of fish.”
SPI Development Director Dr. Sunman Kim was recognized by Mayor Barry Patel during the Presentations and Proclamations portion of the meeting. Dr. Kim’s department received a Certificate of Achievement award from the Texas chapter of the American Planning Association.
Mayor Patel read the following from the organization’s award letter: “The City of SPI meets the chapter’s goals for increasing awareness of professional planning, recognizing the planning departments, enhancing neighborhood and citizen recognition of planning efforts, encouraging the funding of professional training of commissioners and staff, and aiding in economic development and community image.”
Economic Development Corporation (EDC) Director Darla Lamprey reported on current programs and projects. She reported the EDC approved funding up to $100,000 to be used as matching funds with a Texas Parks and Wildlife grant to build a skate park at John T. Tompkins Park. The group also approved funding of an engineering study released to build a sidewalk on the west side of Laguna Blvd. between Marlin and Swordfish streets. “Beautification and infrastructure improvements are important to the EDC,” stated Lapreye. Other programs sponsored by the group include UTRGV Kauffman FastTrac Entrepreneurship Program, the Sand Dollars for Success business plan competition, and the Design Façade Improvement Plan.
In separate agenda items, council approved guidelines and funding in the amount of $25,000 each for the Sand Dollar for Success and the Design Façade Improvement programs. City Councilmember Dennis Stahl and Mayor Pro-Tem Alita Bagley emphasized the need for further development of the Façade plan and added the requirement for the EDC to come back to Council by its December meeting as a condition for approval.
Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Keith Arnold brought a proposal to approve the Atkins Group Advertising Agency Services Agreement. “We’ve had a productive marketing year that includes new website, new brand and advertising look, new digital interactive marketing strategies, increased public relations initiatives, stronger convention and sales bookings, and many published accolades and rankings for SPI destination,” stated Arnold. Council approved the $2.6 million agreement. Arnold also got council to approve the purchase of $52,106 in equipment for use by El Paseo productions and other Convention Centre events.
Finally council considered and approved an action to formally create a committee with the purpose of proposing a silent water sport facility. Three City Council members, members from Shoreline Management Department or Task Force and representatives from SPI Windsurfing Association will comprise the committee. “We’re trying to get a venue for SPI that is world class,” stated the mayor. The facility would support windsurfing, paddle boarding, kite boarding, and kayaking, he added. Shoreline Management Director Dr. Patrick Barrineau stated that the committee is working on multiple grant applications to fund the projects.

– Kevin Rich