Feb. 26--RAYMONDVILLE -- City commissioners Tuesday unanimously voted to start an application process for a city-backed loan that would help a local family fund a $1.5 million produce storage and distribution center.
In a meeting, commissioners started the loan application process with the Texas Department of Agriculture'sTexas Capital Fund.
Former Mayor Joey Sosa and his sister Deborah Sosa plan to turn a 6-acre area along Sixth Street from Sauz to San Francisco streets -- now with scattered collapsed packing sheds -- into a produce distribution center featuring dry and cold storage units.
After the meeting, Joey Sosa said they plan to apply for a $500,000 loan. The cold storage plant would create 57 jobs, he said.
"This is just the beginning to something spectacular that's coming to Willacy County," Deborah Sosa, who runs a produce packing warehouse in Las Cruces, N.M., said after the meeting.
Joey Sosa said the family plans to open a dry storage operation that would employ 25 workers by November.
Mayor Lonnie Correa called the urban renewal project "a win-win situation."
"It could be something that will revitalize the (local farming) industry," Correa said after the meeting.
The city would use land and building improvements as collateral for the loan that would be used to buy a cold storage unit, said Carlos Mondragon, the city's grant coordinator.
"In a worst-case scenario, if something happens (the city would make) a good-faith effort to rent it or sell it and the state gets its money back," Mondragon told commissioners.
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