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      Hotel coming to La Villa, detention center

      There are approximately 1,600 visitations at the prison each month.

      After more than a year in the works, the City of La Villa inked a deal to bring a La Copa Inn to the small Hidalgo County community.

      "We did identify a lodging need based on the East Hidalgo Detention Center that's in La Villa, City Administrator Noel Bernal said. That's where it came about."

      Bernal said there are approximately 1600 hundred visitations at the prison each month, 30 percent of those visitors are from outside of the Valley.

      The city wants to capitalize on the number of visitors.

      "Funding wise, this will not have an impact on the taxpayers, so the taxpayers will not be subsidizing this project in no way," he added.

      The 12,000 square foot, 25-room hotel will be built on Highway 107, just west of Mike Chapa Drive.

      It is expected to bring in nearly $40,000 in revenue each year.

      For a city that operates on a $300,000 budget, that number is significant.

      "What that means is that we'll be able to address our existing deficit faster and continue to build toward more growth," Bernal concluded.

      He added that La Villa will continue to look towards the future, and that the hotel is just the first step in spurring economic development in the city.

      Construction on the La Copa Inn will begin in the 4-5 months and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, or the start of 2013. The approximate costs of the project have not been disclosed.

      The city will pay their share with grant money from the city-urban initiative by the federal government.