Dana Youngentob, DC Press Secretary , August 19, 2022
U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) held a press conference to announce a $2,509,264 federal earmark to construct the new Rio Grande City Public Safety Building and Emergency Shelter. The grant will cover approximately 35% of the total $7.1 million project. The remaining 65% will be funded by the city.
The shelter will consolidate police, fire, and emergency dispatch services. It will also provide emergency shelter provisions, training for first responders, and a centralized hub for first responders to coordinate in the event of an emergency. It will have the capacity to house 50 people.
When the shelter is not being used for emergency needs, it will implement community outreach programs and serve as a training space for emergency management.
"This new shelter will be a gathering point to make Starr County first responders more efficient in the face of an emergency," said Congressman Cuellar, a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee. "Starr County currently relies on schools, churches, and private organizations to help the community during times of hardship. Our first responders need a dedicated facility to train and respond to emergencies. The shelter will also act as a vital community center during weather related and public health related events. I look forward to the expeditious construction of the facility. Thank you to County Judge Eloy Vera and Mayor Joel Villarreal for your continued support of Starr County and Rio Grande City. I also want to thank Rio Grande City Commissioner Alberto Escobedo for his vision for a better Rio Grande City and for presenting this idea to me earlier this year."
" We are extremely excited for this much needed facility. Safety is a top priority, and this building will be a great asset to the City of Rio Grande and to Starr County. We would like to thank Congressman Henry Cuellar for his assistance in securing the funds, and for being a great advocate for Starr County," said Starr County Judge Eloy Vera.
"On behalf of the City of Rio Grande City we want to express our sincere gratitude for the tremendous amount of support Congressman Cuellar has continuously vested in our community," said Mayor Villarreal.
"As a public official it is my goal to ensure that we meet the needs of our community. Coming together with all our community entities I am thankful that we will now have the facility to help our community entities, I am thankful that we will now have the facility to help our community members in time of need. La unión hace fuerza. Together, we are stronger," said Rio Grande City Commissioner Alberto Escobedo.
Currently, Starr County depends on school districts, churches and private organizations to provide shelter services. Having a designated area owned by the city allows Rio Grande City to be better prepared for emergencies. Supplies could be housed in one location and emergency personnel will be centralized. This is important during an emergency so the community is constantly aware of where they can seek refuge.