Editor Note: It was reported that the planning commission was called the Metropolitan Planning Commission. The story has been updated stating the planning commission name as the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Commission.
When Noé Flores moved to San Juan, he weighed over 400 pounds. Now, he’s lost weight, feels healthier and connects with his kids more often.
“This track is near and dear to my heart,” Flores said.
A now asphalt hike and bike trail, Flores started walking on what was once a makeshift dirt trail that runs along a drainage canal next to PSJA Bears Trail and South Veterans Boulevard in San Juan.
“There was already activity around this canal. There was already people walking,” said Eddie Cantú, Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner.
“Before the trail came in, it was kind of an eyesore,” Flores said.
Flores says trash would be dumped on the side. But within the last two years, Cantú presented the hike and bike project to the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Commission.
“They explained to us that they had more money than they’ve ever had for a hike and bike trail or a similar type project,” Cantú said.
Cantu says that the planning commission liked the project because it benefited several cities at once.
“You’re going to be able to get on a hike and bike trail in San Juan, go through Pharr, go through McAllen and be able to go all the way to [the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley],” Cantú said.
Using $4.5 million originating from the Federal Highway Administration’s gasoline tax and distributed through the Hidalgo County Metropolitan Planning Commission, the entire hike and bike trail should be completed within two years.
The current portion in San Juan that connects with Pharr near the PSJA Early College High School is 80 percent complete and is awaiting the moving of sewer and water lines by the City of Pharr.
The next segment will go from Ridge Road to Hall Acres Road. Within a year, the trail will go from Hall Acres Road to 2nd Street in McAllen.