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Brownsville plans to revitalize its downtown district with $3.4 million budget

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The city of Brownsville has plans in the works to make its downtown district more attractive to visitors and residents.

The city of Brownsville has plans in the works to make its downtown district more attractive to visitors and residents.

“There’s many other facets of downtown that are less known and will be known later,” said Chairmen of the Downtown Advisory Committee for Main Street Brownsville Larry Holtzman.

The plan is to make the city’s downtown district look new, but historic at the same time.

“We have access to a lot of help from the state of Texas that we weren’t able to access before,” Holtzman said. “Some design works, some organizational efforts that we’ve learned about. It’s been a help to us.”

There have been many efforts, that have failed, to revitalize downtown in the past, but Holtzman said the $3.4 million market square revitalization project is looking to be a success.

Through the Intensive Block Façade Improvement Program, buildings that need repair will get financial assistance from the city.

“The Façade Improvement Program offers a reimbursement of one-half the expense of restoring the façade to specifications,” said Holtzman.

Holtzman said that the city would assist building owners, whose applications were approved, with $10,000 to $15,000  for renovations.

Laura Foncerrada has owned the coffeehouse El Hueso de Fraile for five years.

“In the beginning it was so hard,” Foncerrada said.  “We were struggling for like two or three years. Now, it’s working better.” 

 Foncerrada said there is a need for security and more businesses downtown to attract visitors and residents, but she believes current businesses should be celebrated too.

“Brownsville has already a lot of things to do,” said Foncerrada. “It needs more publicity to spread the word.” 

The Market Square tower looks to be completed within the coming weeks.

A formal announcement from the city hasn’t been made, but Chairmen Holtzman said it’s going to be within a few weeks.

The Market Square Restoration Project should be finished by June 1st, according to Holtzman. 

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