The city is going to spend big bucks to advertise the Island state and Valley wide.

A $2.8 million contract with the Atkins Group, a San Antonio advertising agency, was agreed upon by city officials to continue marketing the Island recently.

The Atkins Group takes care of marketing the Island in the state’s largest cities, airports and Mexico with a multimedia strategy.

They also work on the city website and adverting campaigns with the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

But it was found that only 3 percent of last year’s marketing budget went to advertising the Island to the Valley.

“We haven’t been spending as much as we should be in the Rio Grande Valley but we are working on that and trying to improve it,” said Dennis Stahl, SPI mayor-elect.

City leaders were recently introduced to the idea of owning the 100-mile area.

To help the city own the area, it has set aside another $150,000 to advertise the Island to the Valley.

“They don’t have to drive seven hours in a car,” Stahl said. “They can get here this weekend if they wanted to.”

Stahl recalls when people from McAllen would drive here for dinner.

“But, they are just not doing that anymore,” Stahl said. “They have lots of choices, but only one beach.”

The city approved a consulting partnership with Berkeley Young Consulting.

Young Strategies has worked with more than 100 destinations in 27 states since 2004.

“We want to continue to remind them that we welcome them to their closest Island,” Stahl said. “We want as many people to come to the Island as possible.”

Stahl said Berkeley Young is helping the Island improve knowing “who our customers are and who we should be targeting.”

“We are trying to make sure the Rio Grande Valley knows about us,” Stahl said. “They can go to Main Event or all the other places, and we’re in competition for those dollars.”