LAGUNA VISTA — The small town of Laguna Vista is making headway on an ecotourism center that it hopes will attract more tourists.

Early last month, the town made an initial announcement about its plans to create a site that would work as an information and visitors center that would provide visitors with insight into the town’s ecosystem.

In November, Laguna Vista entered a partnership with Cameron County to build a learning center that would feature an outdoor theater, exhibit halls, trails and natural wetlands.

Laguna Vista City Manager Rolando Vela said the town is moving forward and applying for an Economic Development Administration grant for $800,000 to improve the water and sewer lines on Highway 100, where the center would be located. If approved, the county would be responsible for putting up $200,000 for the 80-20 grant match program.

“The first step for any development is to put in the infrastructure,” Vela said. “We are attempting to do that, should we be awarded this EDA grant.”

The development will be built on 23 acres of the town’s land. Only 10 acres will be used for the building.

Vela said the town wants the development to attract people driving on Highway 100, and allow them to stop and spend time in town.

“The South Texas Ecotourism Visitors Center, when completed, will showcase many of the environmentally rich and unique features of the county,” Vela said.

A 15-year comprehensive plan has been adopted that has updated the town’s subdivision and zoning ordinances in preparation for future commercial development that the town hopes the tourism center spurs in the future.

“The town is hoping that by working closely with the county to augment this partnership and by laying the groundwork with the infrastructure improvements on Highway 100 that we will be in a better position to attract development to this corridor,” Vela said.