BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — After many years of planning the Cannery Public Market in Brownsville broke ground with a ceremony Wednesday.

Rose Gowen, Brownsville Commissioner At-Large “B”, said farmers’ market relocation and the Cannery Public Market project came after the Cannery building was put on the market.

“We always wanted to find a permanent home that could be open rain or shine, cold or heat, and this presented itself in 2010 – 2011, and we snatched it knowing that the potential was huge,” said Gowen.

She said the metal building was used almost a century ago to can vegetables before loading them onto a train.

Now the building will be renovated and used to house the Brownsville Farmer’s Market and other community resources.

“And you’re also going to find some community kitchens,” said Gowen.

Gowen said the community kitchens will give people an opportunity to rent or borrow the commercial kitchen space to work on their craft and even sell their items to the public.

The Cannery building will also be the new home of the Brownsville Wellness Coalition.

“During COVID, we learned we need access to food, and not only did we learn that we didn’t have access to food, but we also didn’t have storage to give in mass production,” said Brownsville Wellness Coalition’s executive director, Vero Dimas Rosenbaum.

Dimas said the new building will provide the storage needed to help distribute to those in need.

“Great things grow and this is essentially that…we’re planting the seed and I feel that today is planting that seed where great things grow for this project,” said Rosenbaum.

She added that the Brownsville Wellness Coalition will be working together with the Food Bank of the RGV, which is also making the Cannery building home.

“You’re going to see a full-scale food program going on right here. Not only just food but also resources, we’re going to have people here full-time staff on hand,” said the Food Bank of the RGV’s CEO, Libby Saenz.

Saenz said the location will provide resources such as a food pantry and social services, making it a one-stop shop.

Commissioner Gowen said the total project cost is over $4 million dollars, and added that funds and resources were gathered through multiple partners such as the Legacy Foundation, USDA, the Musk Foundation, and the City of Brownsville.

“It’s a great area. It’s really probably the most thriving area of the city right now. It’s an entryway into our historic downtown. It’s going to be a great arts and cultural district and having this aspect to it is going to tie it all together. It’s a great place to be and a great place for people to come spend some time,” said Brownsville Mayor, Trey Mendez.

Mayor Mendez said the Cannery Public Market is scheduled to be completed in one year.