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Harlingen convention center’s $2 million price hike puts other projects on hold

Harlingen assistant city manager Carlos Sanchez said the city’s new convention center is now expected to cost $16.7 million.

Construction for a new convention center in Harlingen was originally estimated to cost the city approximately $14.8 million, but that price tag has recently increased.

Harlingen assistant city manager Carlos Sanchez said the city’s new convention center is now expected to cost $16.7 million.

Sanchez says the investment aims to improve the quality of life for Rio Grande Valley residents.

"The intent is to stir up, or improve the economy of our city, to attract different venues or different type of functions to the city of Harlingen and give that level of exposure to our city," Sanchez said.

The city will now have to put two other projects on hold, including renovations to their city hall and further developments to Lon C. Hill park.

"We are doing this with the intent that we do not want to increase taxes, property taxes," said Sanchez.

The city plans to use $12.8 million in bonds to pay for the center. Sanchez says $2 million will be paid for by tax increment financing re-investment zones fund balance, and about $850,000 will come from the hotel motel fund balance. The city’s convention and visitors bureau will pay for $100,000 of the project.

The convention center in Harlingen is expected to have capacity for about 1,500 people, and will sit on eight acres of land that was purchased for $2.8 million on Friday.

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