Residents concerned after Brownsville airport officials announce land acquisition
Brownsville South Padre Island International Airport Director Bryant Walker, along with Texas land officials and appraisers, presented the current direction of an airport project to concerned residents on Wednesday evening.
The project consists of a runway expansion and an additional terminal.
Earlier this month, homeowners received a letter asking if an appraisal team could survey their homes to sell to the city.
"We requested this public meeting since the beginning, because they sent a letter without notice, without nothing,” said Sunny Skies Resident Juan Martinez. “Then we got surprised, everybody got scared of taking away the property."
While some residents who attended the meeting expressed that they didn't want to sell their homes, Walker informed them that the project will happen regardless.
"This is a federal project at the end of the day,” Walker said. “It's not going to stop for one or two or a handful of homeowners. According to the purchase map, they've purchased hundreds of acres already."
Walker tells residents that the airport and the city will work to have fair negotiations with the landowner.
“This is something where we make an offer for your land, and based on your appraisal, the offer would be given to you,” said Walker. “We would offer relocation. If that didn't happen, then we would give you our final offer."
Homeowners will be given the opportunity to go in front of court-appointed individuals to listen to the case, and from there, they will decide what the valuation of the property is.
"In Sunny Skies, it was a very rough start,” said Sunny Skies resident Noelia Diaz. “We didn't have any water, we didn't have any sewage, so it just feels that maybe it was something they should have thought of before people started to live there."
Homeowners won’t have to move immediately as Walker and his appraisal team said they aren’t looking to rush people out of their homes.