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LeT’s PLay!
Great parks provide family fun

Imagine That
City has vibrant arts scene
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2012 | ImagesmCaLLen.COm


co nte nt s F e atu r e s
10 LeT’s PLay!
City parks provide fun for the entire family



ImagIne ThaT
McAllen has a vibrant arts scene

Proximity to Mexico helps bolster the business climate


hOmes WITh ReeL InsPIRaTIOn
Long-standing local neighborhood among film director’s credits

d e Pa r tm e nt s
8 almanac 20 Biz Briefs 22 Chamber Report 23 economic Profile 26 Local Flavor 27 arts & Culture 28 health & Wellness 30 sports & Recreation 31 education 32 Community Profile 33 Through the Lens
On The COveR The Three Graces: Faith, Hope & Charity, by Mick Reber Photo by Brian McCord
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Please recycle this magazine

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What’s online
Visually explore McAllen in our online photo galleries

2012 | ImagesmCaLLen.COm


LeT’s PLay!
Great parks provide family fun

Imagine That
City has vibrant arts scene
sPOnsORed By The mcaLLen ChamBeR OF COmmeRCe

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Learn the basics about local neighborhoods, schools and health care providers
i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m


COnTenT dIReCTOR LisA BAttLes PROOFReadIng manageR RAven Petty COnTenT COORdInaTOR JessiCA WALkeR sTaFF WRITeR kevin LitWin COPy edITOR JiLL WyAtt COnTRIBuTIng WRITeRs MeLonee HuRt, PAuL LAdd, BRAndon LoWe, kARen sCHWARtzMAn, CARson o’ sHoney, BRAxton sHooP, tiffAny WiLLiAMs senIOR gRaPhIC desIgneRs LAuRA GALLAGHeR, JAnine MARyLAnd, kRis sexton, vikki WiLLiAMs gRaPhIC desIgneRs RACHAeL GeRRinGeR, tAyLoR nunLey senIOR PhOTOgRaPheRs Jeff Adkins, BRiAn McCoRd sTaFF PhOTOgRaPheRs todd Bennett, Antony BosHieR COLOR ImagIng TeChnICIan ALison HunteR InTegRaTed medIa manageR BRyAnt GRAntHAM ad PROduCTIOn manageR kAtie MiddendoRf ad TRaFFIC assIsTanTs kRystin LeMMon, PAtRiCiA MoisAn ChaIRman GReG tHuRMAn PResIdenT/PuBLIsheR BoB sCHWARtzMAn exeCuTIve vICe PResIdenT RAy LAnGen senIOR v.P./saLes todd PotteR senIOR v.P./OPeRaTIOns CAsey HesteR senIOR v.P./CLIenT deveLOPmenT Jeff HeefneR senIOR v.P./BusIness deveLOPmenT sCott teMPLeton senIOR v.P./agRIBusIness PuBLIshIng kiM HoLMBeRG v.P./BusIness deveLOPmenT CHARLes fitzGiBBon v.P./exTeRnaL COmmunICaTIOns teRee CARutHeRs v.P./vIsuaL COnTenT MARk foResteR v.P./COnTenT OPeRaTIOns nAtAsHA LoRens v.P./TRaveL PuBLIshIng susAn CHAPPeLL v.P./saLes HeRB HARPeR, JARek sWekosky COnTROLLeR CHRis dudLey senIOR aCCOunTanT LisA oWens aCCOunTs PayaBLe COORdInaTOR MARiA McfARLAnd aCCOunTs ReCeIvaBLe COORdInaTOR diAnA GuzMAn OFFICe manageR/aCCOunTs ReCeIvaBLe COORdInaTOR sHeLLy MiLLeR saLes suPPORT COORdInaTOR ALex MARks I.T. dIReCTOR yAnCey Bond sysTem admInIsTRaTOR dAnieL CAntReLL WeB COnTenT manageR JoHn Hood WeB PROJeCT manageR noy fonGnALy WeB desIgneR II RiCHARd stevens WeB deveLOPeR I yAMeL HALL, neLs noseWoRtHy WeB aCCOunT manageR LAuRen euBAnk PhOTOgRaPhy dIReCTOR JeffRey s. otto medIa TeChnOLOgy dIReCTOR CHRistinA CARden medIa TeChnOLOgy anaLysTs BeCCA ARy, CHAndRA BRAdsHAW audIenCe deveLOPmenT dIReCTOR deAnnA neLson maRkeTIng CReaTIve dIReCTOR keitH HARRis dIsTRIBuTIOn dIReCTOR GARy sMitH exeCuTIve seCReTaRy kRisty dunCAn human ResOuRCes manageR PeGGy BLAke ReCePTIOnIsT LindA BisHoP

Digital Edition


Helping Artists Grow The McA2 Creative Incubator provides low-cost studio space and technical assistance for artists. It’s a “sister of the Chamber” and encompasses all types of art in its 12 available studios. Artists in residence at the Incubator include a guitar teacher, oil and watercolor artists, a voice coach, and an actor. There’s even a radio station, as well as exhibition and performance space. Live, Local Music Music After Hours, held monthly, features live and local artists from various genres of


he arts scene is thriving in McAllen largely due to partnerships between the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and city government, which nurture local talent in visual and performing arts. McAllen’s diversity and location play a part in local arts, according to Cultural Arts Coordinator Jamie Tabak of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “McAllen has attracted many diverse kinds of art and artists. We have art ranging from embroidery to graphics to music to style. It’s a little bit of everything,” Tabak says.


music. Performances typically take place at historic Archer Park on first Fridays, but are at Bill Schupp Park during summer months. You’re likely to hear anything at Music After Hours, from country to jazz to pop. Artists from all over the Rio Grande Valley have performed for the family-friendly free series, which is sponsored by the Chamber and City of McAllen. Art in Public Public art is making a visual impact on McAllen, too. The public art program, which began three years ago, commissions the works

Rosalina Balderas paints a portrait in Paul Pritchett’s oil painting class at the McA2 Creative Incubator.





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McAllen is published annually by Journal Communications inc. and is distributed through the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and its member businesses. for advertising information or to direct questions or comments about the magazine, contact Journal Communications inc. at (615) 771-0080 or by email at FOR mORe InFORmaTIOn, COnTaCT: McAllen Chamber of Commerce 1200 Ash Avenue, McAllen, tx 78501 Phone: (956) 682-2871 • fax: (956) 687-2917 vIsIT Mc Allen OnLIne aT ImagesmCaLLen.COm ©Copyright 2011 Journal Communications inc., 725 Cool springs Blvd., suite 400, franklin, tn 37067, (615) 771-0080. All rights reserved. no portion of this magazine may be reproduced in whole or in part without written consent. Member the Association of Magazine Media Member Custom Content Council

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Welcome to McAllen
an introduCtion to the area’s people, plaCes and events

Birds of a feather
Mixing the scenery of a 1930s spanish Revival country estate with the sounds of the World Birding Center, Quinta Mazatlan makes for a peaceful escape in the heart of McAllen. the adobe hacienda is surrounded by tropical landscaping and native woodland, making it ideal as a conference and events center as well as a bird-watcher’s paradise. More than 15 acres of birding habitat attract many of the favorite valley species from around the country, including Black-bellied Whistling ducks, Green Jays, Plain Chachalacas and olive sparrows. the grounds also feature birdfeeding stations and a hummingbird lane.

time to Celebrate
McAllen celebrated a major milestone last february. the month marked the city’s 100th anniversary, and to commemorate, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and McAllen Centennial Publications jointly published McAllen’s First 100 Years – Leading the Way. Hailed as the definitive book on McAllen history, it discusses how the community was shaped, important people and remarkable events, legacies left and future growth. the book, written by accomplished local writer eileen Mattei, is available for sale at the McAllen Chamber of Commerce.

Art smarts
McAllen is home to the international Museum of Art & science, an educational community museum that preserves the past, records the present and provides perspective for the future. Affiliated with the smithsonian, it houses the nation’s largest collection of Mexican folk art, with more than 3,000 pieces. the museum, which opened in 1969, also houses several traveling arts exhibitions, its own impressive collections and new hands-on exhibitions.



Read All About it
the McAllen Public Library has just opened a brand-new set of doors. the original building on Main street opened in 1950 with 40,000 square feet and three floors. the new library, located at nolana and 23rd, will cover just one floor and 123,000 square feet, making it the largest single-floor public library in the nation. the new site will allow significant increases to the library’s collection, and also includes computer labs and meeting rooms. other new features will include a teen area, cafe, quiet reading room, expanded children’s section, electronic classrooms and an art gallery.

Advanced education
McAllen enjoys a reputation for excellent education, thanks in part to the McAllen independent school district’s international Baccalaureate Program. the international Baccalaureate organization works with schools, governments and international organizations to develop challenging programs of international education. the program is divided into three separate segments depending on grade and is available to students of all ages. Lamar Academy began offering classes in McAllen in 2001.

mcallen at a glance
POPuLaTIOn (2010 esTImaTe) McAllen: 129,877 Hidalgo County: 774,769 LOCaTIOn McAllen is in the Rio Grande valley of south texas, 70 miles west of the Gulf of Mexico. BegInnIngs the city of McAllen was unofficially founded in 1904 and incorporated in 1911. FOR mORe InFORmaTIOn McAllen Chamber of Commerce 1200 Ash Ave. McAllen, tx 78501 Phone: (956) 682-2871 fax: (956) 687-2917
Rio Gra

Fast Facts
n the los ebanos Ferry is the last hand-operated ferry on the u.s.mexico border.


7 77

Edinburg Mission


Pharr Weslaco

n people come from all over the world to compete in the valley land Fund south texas shootout photo contest, held since 1994. n there are more than 600 restaurants within the city limits of mcallen. n more than 100 of the Fortune 500’s global manufacturers have operations in mcallen or across the border in reynosa.

Harlingen rlin ing


R Reynosa osa o

Rio G Grande

2 28 281

77 77

Rio Bravo

Brownsville own v w


What’s online
Take a virtual tour of McAllen, courtesy of our award-winning photographers, at

i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m




’S T ! E Y L A L P
CITy PaRks PROvIde Fun FOR The enTIRe FamILy
stoRy By BRandOn LOWe


rom lush golf courses to picturesque lakes, the Rio Grande Valley abounds with open-air recreation opportunities. But thanks to a network of beautiful parks, McAllen residents need not leave the city to discover a world of outdoor fun.

BRiAn M c CoRd

Fireman’s Park The McAllen Parks & Recreation Department currently oversees 25 city parks in McAllen, the new centerpiece of which is Fireman’s Park, which will be open to the public in early 2012. The 15-acre project broke ground in October 2010 and represents the city of McAllen’s firm commitment to public spaces. Perhaps the most unique element of the park will be its camping option, says McAllen Parks and Recreation Director Sally Gavlik. “Unlike traditional urban parks, Fireman’s Park contains elements normally found only at a state or regional park,” she says. “That makes the park an excellent stepping stone for people who aren’t accustomed to the camping experience, including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.” Fireman’s Park will also boast a 5-acre lake that will be ideal for canoeing and kayaking. The lake will feature a beach area complete
a young man shows his skills on a bike at mcallen’s spray and Ground park.

i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m


PHotos By BRiAn M c CoRd



with a concession stand. Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the lake, a fishing pier will provide park visitors with a chance to fish without having to leave the city. In addition to several playground areas, the park will have a circuit of stand-alone exercise equipment specifically designed for outdoor use, as well as several other amenities, including an on-site mini conference center for up to 75 people. hike and Bike One of the many things that makes the public park system in McAllen so progressive is its network of quality hike-and-bike trails. The trails were expanded in 2010 to help connect the entire city. Similar trail networks in larger cities like Austin inspired the expansion. “We have been lucky enough to have a city government that realizes city parks are integral to bringing a community together,” Gavlik says. Indeed, the vitality of McAllen is physically manifested through the city’s elaborate system of trails and parks, something long-time McAllen resident Luis Fuentes can attest to. “The parks here are nice and peaceful,” says

79-year-old Fuentes, who has been using McAllen parks for nearly 30 years. “I do all of my walking and exercising there. And I usually see many people I know while I’m there.” Family Fun Found here McAllen’s Spray and Ground Park has been a hit with kids and parents alike since it opened in 2010 and has become an especially popular site for birthday parties. In fact, the park has been such a draw for families across the region that McAllen will be adding a second splash park in 2012 near the Palm View Community Center. Local dog owners have been enjoying the city’s new dog park located at Tamarack Ave. and 5th Street. Also new to the park system is Curtis Park, already a favorite for family reunions. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy Los Encinos Community Park. One of McAllen’s newest additions, the park is home to baseball, football, soccer and softball fields, in addition to basketball, volleyball and tennis courts. For a complete list of McAllen’s city parks, visit the City of McAllen website at

Bikers take advantage of the city’s 2010 trails expansion. Left, Top: softball practice at mcallen’s new spray and Ground park. Left, Bottom: Kids play at the city’s new spray and Ground park.

JeffRey s. otto

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m c aLLen has vIBRanT aRTs sCene
helping artists grow The McA2 Creative Incubator provides low-cost studio space and technical assistance for artists. It’s a “sister of the Chamber” and encompasses all types of art in its 12 available studios. Artists in residence at the Incubator include a guitar teacher, oil and watercolor artists, a voice coach, and an actor. There’s even a radio station, as well as exhibition and performance space. Live, Local music Music After Hours, held monthly, features live and local artists from various genres of

stoRy By PauL Ladd

he arts scene is thriving in McAllen largely due to partnerships between the McAllen Chamber of Commerce and city government, which nurture local talent in visual and performing arts. McAllen’s diversity and location play a part in local arts, according to Cultural Arts Coordinator Jamie Tabak of the McAllen Chamber of Commerce. “McAllen has attracted many diverse kinds of art and artists. We have art ranging from embroidery to graphics to music to style. It’s a little bit of everything,” Tabak says.


music. Performances typically take place at historic Archer Park on first Fridays, but are at Bill Schupp Park during summer months. You’re likely to hear anything at Music After Hours, from country to jazz to pop. Artists from all over the Rio Grande Valley have performed for the family-friendly free series, which is sponsored by the Chamber and City of McAllen. art in Public Public art is making a visual impact on McAllen, too. The public art program, which began three years ago, commissions the works

rosalina Balderas paints a portrait in paul pritchett’s oil painting class at the mca2 Creative incubator.

i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m


of area artists for display at various locations around town. “Artists dream of having their work displayed in a community – their own community,” says Keith Arney, who chairs the city’s Public Art Committee. One of the more talked-about pieces is a sculpture called The Three Graces on Main Street in the Arts District. Artist Mick Reber’s work represents the graces of faith, hope and charity. Other new works include the Irrigation Worker sculpture by Douglas Clark; Jackrabbit, a joint work by Nancy Moyer and Clark; and Joe Taylor’s two-dimensional history of McAllen in graphite. Arney reports funding for the public art has come from public funds and several private sources. “We’re really excited about how

much support we’ve received. It’s making this beautiful community more beautiful,” Arney says. Theatre and Film McAllen’s theatre scene is also growing. Plays and musicals are often performed on the University of Texas-Pan American and South Texas College campuses. In addition, the historic Cine El Rey theater on South 17th Street hosts live performances, including concerts, comedy shows and plays, along with classic movies. McAllen is also attracting interest from movie and television producers. Visitors and locals alike are pleasantly surprised at McAllen’s strong arts scene, says Tabak, who adds that it’s no longer necessary to travel to other larger cities to enjoy the visual or performing arts.



Antony BosHieR

Left: Cine el rey lights up 17th street with its neon glow. above: the art village on main

PHoto By BRiAn McCoRd

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TOP Spot for JOBS
PROxImITy TO mexICO heLPs BOLsTeR The m c aLLen BusIness CLImaTe
stoRy By meLOnee huRT | PHotoGRAPHy By BRIan m CCORd

hile other areas continue to feel the effects of a struggling economy, McAllen’s local businesses are seeing successes in a local economy that’s earning national accolades. For example, McAllen landed atop the Forbes magazine list of Best Cities for Jobs again in 2011. The McAllen metropolitan statistical area (MSA), which includes all of Hidalgo County, ranked No. 4 in the list of mid-sized cities, up from No. 6 the previous year, showing a 1.5 percent increase in non-farm employment. In compiling its annual list, Forbes ranks all 398 MSAs in the U.S. based on employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rankings are based on recent growth trends, mid-term growth, long-term growth and momentum. Business Comes north of the Border Local businessman David Martinez attributes much of McAllen’s success to its neighbors to the south in Mexico. He says on any given day, certain shopping-area parking lots will contain as much as 80 percent Mexican license plates. “This is a great place for small business, and it’s because of the uniqueness of the market. We aren’t as affected by what’s going on in the country as much, as long as there’s money in Mexico,” Martinez says. Among Martinez’s eight businesses, five of which


are in the McAllen area, are bookstores, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and Russo’s New York Pizzeria, which opened in January of 2009. Of the 32 U.S. Russo’s franchises, his McAllen location ranks No. 2 in sales. Martinez says he feels the effects of the nation’s economy woes much more in other states where he does business, such as Florida. “We have a warehouse in Florida where we wholesale to bookstores,” he says. “They are hardly buying anything. Texas is different. The bookstores we sell to in Texas are fairly strong.” Big and small Businesses Feel the effects That strong business climate is being felt on a larger scale as well. FibeRio Technology Corp., a company that commercializes Forcespinning (tm) technology, won an R&D magazine 100 Award for the development and launch of a high-end piece of production machinery. The annual R&D Awards recognize the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace. As for Martinez, he is continuing to grow his business portfolio – in the McAllen area. “I already have some things in the works,” he says. “I get calls pretty often from people looking for franchisees. I think with my track record and what I can show that businesses do here, I can continue to bring new things down here.”

materials engineer Bharath raghavan inspects nanofibers at Fiberio technology Corp. in mcallen.



i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m



Biz Briefs
Businesses – Both larGe and small – that help deFine mcallen’s eConomiC Climate

BusIness aT a gLanCe

$3.6 billion
annual retail sales

Retail sales per capita

$357.5 million
annual hotel and food sales

Total number of firms
Source: U.S. Census QuickFacts

FRIda’s gRILL & CanTIna Biz: Restaurant Buzz: Frida’s Grill & Cantina opened in McAllen’s entertainment district in September 2010. Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday from 5 until 11 p.m., Frida’s has a relaxed, upscale atmosphere, traditional Mexican cuisine as well as Mediterranean food and USDA prime steak. Guests also enjoy live, Latininspired music on Friday and Saturday nights. 20


PICkLes & ICe CReam Biz: Maternity clothing store Buzz: Pickles & Ice Cream offers maternity apparel and merchandise such as diaper bags, nursing and skincare items, and gifts for mothers and babies. Located in the Trenton View Shopping Center, the store is part of the largest and oldest maternity clothing franchise in the United States. Pickles & Ice Cream is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The shOPPes aT RIO gRande vaLLey Biz: Retail development Buzz: Expected to open for business in 2012, The Shoppes at Rio Grande Valley will include stores such as Anna’s Linens, GNC and Petco. The shops will be anchored by JCPenney, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Burlington Coat Factory and will be part of a pedestrianfriendly outdoor mall. (860) 646-6555 maRIPOza BOuTIque Biz: Jewelry and gift shop Buzz: Maripoza Boutique provides unusual jewelry, accessories, home decor and assorted gifts from various locations around the world. Customers can visit the shop at its primary location on North 10th Street and can also check out the boutique’s booth at the Saturday morning farmers market at Alhambra. Maripoza Boutique is open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. (956) 686-4438 deBORah Case danCe aCademy Biz: Dance studio Buzz: Deborah Case Dance Academy offers a variety of classes, such as ballet, tap, jazz and hip-hop, for dancers of all ages. Owned by Deborah Case, the academy is home of the Rio Grande Valley Ballet, which has been performing in the area for nearly four decades.

Diplomate A.A.F.P . Fellow A.A.F.P .

Diplomate A.A.F.P . Fellow A.A.F.P .

Diplomate A.A.F.P . Fellow A.A.F.P .

Since 1967 Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m.-Noon

Since 1981 Open Every Night of the Year 6 p.m.-Midnight

606 S. Broadway • McAllen, TX


606 S. Broadway • McAllen, TX


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chamber report
Five prototypes evolve From networKinG Group
upporting McAllen’s innovative spirit, the McAllen Chamber of Commerce has created an inventors & entrepreneurship network designed to encourage members to share ideas and work together as a group to move those ideas forward.


McAllen Chamber of Commerce vice President of Business development and Governmental Affairs eduardo Millet says that although the networking aspect of this group is very important, the group is devoted to seeing action and success for its participants.

direction & Funding
the group, which typically boasts 50 attendees at its monthly meetings, has been together since 2010. Within its first year it spawned at least five product prototypes that came to the group as simple ideas. dalinda Gonzalez-Alcantar is a teacher in the McAllen school district who learned to build mobile applications that could foster student, parent and community involvement. she brought her idea to the group and it has now evolved into her business, eJucomm LLC. “if it wasn’t for the i&e group, i am sure i would still be at the very premature stages of my project,” Gonzalez-Alcantar says. Gonzalez-Alcantar is also the recipient of a $10,000 innovation grant from the Chamber that funded necessary legal start-up expenses and the requisite building blocks for the business.

got Ideas?
fernando Ramirez and Jorge Garcia brought an idea for an automated baby-bottle washing system to the group and are working on preparing their prototype to be market-ready. “We hope to have a finished design in the next few weeks,” Ramirez says. “if it wasn’t for the i&e network we would not have gotten as far as we are now.” Millet says that almost everyone has some business idea but isn’t sure how to get to the next step. “this group shows you that it’s possible. By networking and knowing others, you start actually making connections, learning that you need to act, and making progress with your idea.” – Melonee Hurt



6039-TR12260M_TGB_Livability.indd 1

3/22/10 11:40:09 AM

McAllen consistently ranks among Forbes’ best mid-sized cities for jobs. it enjoys a strong, diverse economy, with the most significant strength seen in its retail sector.


per Capita income

mcallen heart of the City 220 s. 17th st. McAllen, texas 78501 (956) 686-4357

median annual household income

mcallen-miller international airport 2500 s. Bicentennial Blvd. McAllen, texas 78503 (956) 682-9101 mcallen express transit 1500 W. Business Highway 83 McAllen, texas 78501 (956) 688-3500 mcallen/hidalgo international Bridge 1023 international Blvd. Hidalgo, texas 78557 (956) 843-2471 Greyhound/valley transit Company (956) 686-5479 amtrak

eCOnOmIC ResOuRCes Taxes
mcallen Chamber of Commerce 1200 Ash Ave. McAllen, texas 78501 (956) 682-2871 mcallen Convention & visitors’ Bureau (956) 682-2871 mcallen economic development Corporation 6401 s. 33rd st. McAllen, texas 78503 (956) 682-2875

City sales and use tax

state sales tax

total sales tax


total workforce

percentage white Collar

maJOR emPLOyeRs edinburg Consolidated i.s.d. 3,600 3,595 3,000 2,850 2,800 2,211 2,140 1,801 975 811

percentage Blue Collar

McAllen independent school district edinburg Regional Medical Center university of texas Pan American McAllen Medical Center Hidalgo County Mission Consolidated i.s.d. City of McAllen Columbia Rio Grande Regional Hospital south texas College


associate degree

Bachelor’s degree

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The Water Walk subdivision was designed by acclaimed film director and mcallen native Catherine hardwicke.



hOmes with Reel Inspiration
LOng-sTandIng neIghBORhOOd amOng mOvIe dIReCTOR’s CRedITs
stoRy By JessICa WaLkeR | PHotoGRAPHy By BRIan m CCORd


t’s always a good day in the neighborhood when you live in one of McAllen’s most uncommon subdivisions. Known as Water Walk, the 10-acre housing development was created by Hollywood director Catherine Hardwicke, famous for films such as 2011’s Red Riding Hood, 2008’s Twilight and 2005’s Lords of Dogtown. She designed the neighborhood during her time as an architecture student at The University of Texas at Austin in 1979, and turned it in as an assignment for a class project. Her work didn’t only impress her professor. Her father, John B. Hardwicke Jr., thought enough of the design that he and fellow developer Tommy J. Daniel made the first phase of Catherine’s development come to life. “Water Walk was a cotton field,” says Mike Blum, who was McAllen’s city planner when the housing project began and now lives in the development. “Now, it’s a uniquely master-planned environment that’s unlike any place in the region.”

“Words cannot do it justice,” says resident Elvie Davis, who serves as secretary of the Water Walk Board of Directors. Davis also created the Water Walk website, which she continues to manage and maintain. “It was an instant legend, the desirable place to live, the new cool neighborhood,” Davis says. “I recall driving by and looking at this phenomenal place, and fantasizing about living here.” Convenient, safe Location Davis says she enjoys the neighborhood’s “zen-like ambiance,” an aspect that appeals to many residents, but Water Walk is also located near north McAllen’s thriving shopping, business and entertainment districts. Residents enjoy a feeling of safety and security inside the development. “Everybody kind of watches out for one another,” Blum says. “It’s not gated, but it is a secure environment.” Famously desirable Once only an idea on paper, Catherine Hardwicke’s college masterpiece is now one of McAllen’s most popular neighborhoods that continues to draw the attention of area residents and visitors alike. “It’s like a work of art that’s also a residential haven for those of us living here,” Davis says. “It’s a creative design brought to life by a young artist and her family, born and raised here.”
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Beautiful homes, amenities Composed of more than 120 Mediterranean-style townhomes, Water Walk includes a one-acre lake with fountains and a waterfall, tennis courts, sitting areas, swimming pools and other amenities. While each home is unique, they all are finished with white stucco and have red tile roofs.


Local flavor

tastefully defy conventions
dininG ranGes From GloBal Cuisine to ClassiC steaKhouses


ith over 600 eateries within the city limits, the diversity of the local flavor in McAllen is a real perk for visitors. from upscale dining delicacies to exotic indian, Mediterranean, thai and korean cuisine, McAllen offers a variety to please every palate.

koko’s Mexican Restaurant, created by Albert and Jorge suarez, is a local legend in the McAllen area. koko’s original downtown location was a “hole in the wall” that could only accommodate ten tables. despite its diminutive size, by 2004 koko’s had become so successful that the suarez brothers were able to move it to its current uptown location. With this new site, koko’s is now able to provide catering services and a more upscale atmosphere.

of an italian eatery. in addition to an ample wine selection, Capellini’s features such signature dishes as salmone affumicato, fettuccine capellini and fusilli al pesto genovese. kohnami Restaurant and sake Bar is a refreshing change of pace from common dining establishments. kohnami offers high-quality seafood in both traditional and custom-created preparations, as well as a bountiful selection of sakes and wines and a full-service cocktail bar. Bayou Grill brings a taste of Louisiana spice to McAllen. Bayou Grill serves items like po’boy sandwiches, oysters, crab cakes, gumbo, crawfish salad and fried pickles. However, Bayou Grill’s true value lies in its specialty items like its bayou chicken and voodoo shrimp, its blackened mahi-mahi florentine and crawfish etouffee.

steakhouses. While santa fe features live entertainment and a stylish, upscale atmosphere, its true passion lies in its finely cut meats and seafood. to complement these culinary favorites, santa fe offers a massive wine list and a diverse menu that features such unique items as quail, chicken zia and filet oscar.

Fresh and organic oFFerings
for more than 30 years, klement’s Grove has been growing and selling its own unique brand of citrus, which now includes more than 20 varieties of fruit such as grapefruit, oranges, tangerines, tangelos, kumquats and more. Bell’s farm to Market brings freshly grown items like navel oranges, texas pecans, avocados, texas supersweet onions, unusual jams, jellies and other condiments to market. open winter and spring, Bell’s is also known for its freshly squeezed fruit juices available by the gallon. the farmer’s Market at Alhambra is McAllen’s source for the freshest local, sustainable organic meats and produce. the farmer’s market provides the unique experience of being able to speak with and befriend the very people who produce the meats and produce that are sold. – Braxton Shoop

Fine dining and international cuisine
Capellini’s italian Restaurant is an authentic, upscale presentation

classic steakhouse
santa fe steakhouse and Cantina represents the finest tradition of American

BRiAn M c CoRd

Capellini con Gamberi allo Zafferano served at Capellini ristorante Galleria in mcallen



Arts & Culture

celebrating culture all year
mcallen is Full oF arts, Festivals and historiC attraCtions
xplore McAllen’s artsy side with a quick look at all it has to offer – theater, festivals, concerts, museums and more. neighboring the u.s.-Mexico border, this progressive city offers some of the best cultural activities in the state.


entertainment in mcallen
McAllen’s downtown 17th street entertainment district is filled with lounges, restaurants, nightclubs and more. Located at its center is the historic Cine el Rey theater, which opened in 1947 and operated for 40 years before functioning as it does today as a live music and performance venue which also screens spanish and english language independent features. McAllen’s diverse culture influences much of the music performed by the valley symphony orchestra & Chorale, which was established in 1952 – with the Chorale joining later in 1984. similarly, the south texas Lyric opera offers a yearly slate of productions and an annual opera gala, and Rio Grande valley Broadway brings the most popular shows to town.

May and is free to the public. in october, the Chamber presents the Green Living festival to encourage environmentally friendly lifestyles. then, two months later, folks enjoy Candlelight Posada, offering food booths, luminaries, a parade, live entertainment, caroling and a live nativity scene the first friday and saturday nights in december.

chamber arts eVents
the McAllen Chamber of Commerce shows its love for the arts by managing the McAllen Arts Council, which publishes a quarterly magazine, produces an annual fine arts exhibition and offers grants to local artists. the Chamber also offers the free outdoor music concert series, manages the Creative incubator for emerging artists and coordinates the Public Art Committee programs.

historic sites
the Museum of south texas History and McAllen Heritage Center are just two locations to learn about the rich history of this bicultural city. Quinta Mazatlan, a 1930s hacienda, embodies the spanish Colonial Revival architecture of arches, adobe and beams, and provides an intimate look into south texas history. set in formal tropical landscaping‚ this 10,000-square-foot mansion sits on a 15-acre plot hosting a mix of native and exotic plants and wildlife, making up McAllen’s wing of the popular World Birding Center. – Tiffany Williams

Visual arts and FestiVals
the international Museum of Art & science promotes a deeper appreciation for the arts and sciences through its exhibitions, cultural events and educational programs. McAllen Art Walk, a self-guided tour, provides a route to explore the many art galleries and venues in one of the most historic parts of the city. it’s held every first friday september through
valley symphony orchestra & Chorale

i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m


Health & Wellness

PHotos By BRiAn M c CoRd

healthy living
mCallen hospitals, mediCal Centers FoCus on CarinG For the Community


cAllen is home to major health-care facilities that offer a wide range of services. in addition to traditional hospitals, McAllen has its own heart hospital and surgical centers, all of which aim to provide excellent care to area patients.

south texas health system Facilities in the area
opening its doors in 1919, McAllen Medical Center serves as the valley’s longest-operating health-care facility. it provides 441 beds and a staff of more than 400 physicians representing more than 50 medical specialties. McAllen Medical Center has a Level iii trauma Center for specialized treatments, and also provides a variety of services ranging from a birthing center to diabetes management to endocrinology. McAllen Heart Hospital was the first freestanding cardiology and cardiovascular hospital built in the united states, having opened in 1996. its sole purpose is to care for patients who have heartrelated issues and illnesses. the 60-bed hospital provides inpatient and outpatient services, a

24-hour emergency Center, and services such as diagnosis and treatment, heart catheterization, surgery and education. in 2009, the society of Chest Pain Centers Accreditation Review Committee granted the hospital Cycle ii Chest Pain Center Accreditation with Percutaneous Coronary interventions (PCi), making it one of only two hospitals in the Rio Grande valley to be awarded the designation. HealthGrades has awarded both McAllen Medical Center and McAllen Heart Hospital with several awards, including the distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical excellence in 2011. HealthGrades also has ranked McAllen Heart Hospital no. 1 in texas for overall Cardiac Care and Cardiac surgery from 2007 through 2011.

rio grande regional hosPital
Rio Grande Regional Hospital has a keen focus on children and is the first and only hospital in the area with a Pediatric Heart Program. With 56 beds, a pediatric iCu and a Pediatric step-down unit, the Children’s Medical Center at the hospital



Improving Your

Health, Improving Your Lifestyle.
Miguel A. Hernandez, M.D. • Salvador J. Mendez, M.D. Certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and Salvador Mendez, PA-C No Referrals Needed • Night Clinic Open From 5-10 p.m. No Appointment Necessary Accepting Most Medicaid Star Programs, Private Insurance & Workers’ Compensation

Orange Medical Center • 1421-A N. 2nd St. • McAllen, TX 78501

(956) 618-4414

also undertakes procedures such as cochlear implants and electrophysiology. the hospital itself opened in 1982 and is well known for patient safety and clinical excellence. its 320-bed, full-service acute care medical facility has more than 500 physicians representing over 35 specialties, and serves as the only area American diabetes Association accredited diabetes Management Center.

doctors hosPital at renaissance
Another medical center serving McAllen is the 506-bed doctors Hospital at Renaissance. since opening its doors in 1997 as an outpatient surgical center, the hospital has grown into a complete acute care facility. today, it provides a full range of medical and surgical services, including cardiology, neurosurgery, endocrinology, as well as providing a Pediatric Medical tower that offers pediatric oncology and pediatric iCu services. – Tiffany Williams
i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m


sports & Recreation

ready, set, Play
sports teams, GolF Courses & parKs maKe BeinG aCtive easy
ffering a wide selection of city parks, golf courses and sports teams, McAllen residents and visitors have many choices of things to do in their spare time.


weather generally stays in the 70s in the coldest months, making it a perfect place for winter golfing.

hiking and biking
McAllen residents enjoy plenty of hiking and biking trails on the east and west sides of town, and visiting cyclists are welcomed to meet up with team McAllen Cycling, a bike club that’s been in the city for more than 25 years.

sPectator sPorts
sports fans in the Rio Grande valley have plenty to cheer for, with minor league or semipro basketball, football, baseball, hockey and soccer teams. Hockey fans have cheered on the semiprofessional Central Hockey League Rio Grande valley killer Bees since 2003. those looking to skate themselves can stay cool at the Rio Grande valley ice Center, which offers ice skating, hockey, broomball and more. Basketball fans have the Rio Grande valley vipers to root for. founded in 2007, the vipers are currently associated with the Houston Rockets in the nBA’s development League. Both the vipers and the killer Bees play their home games in state farm Arena. the Rio Grande valley Bravos have been the valley’s pro soccer team since 2008. Playing in the usL Premier development League, the Bravos have already drawn a large following in the region. the area is also home to two baseball teams: the McAllen thunder, a member of the independent professional north American League, and the united League’s edinburg Roadrunners. stock-car racing fans can also get their fix in McAllen at the Rio Grande speedway.

the McAllen Parks & Recreation department currently oversees 25 city parks. Ranging from historic parks established in the early 1900s to more modern facilities, there is a wide array of outdoor facilities for the whole family. McAllen’s oldest, Archer Park, opened in 1912. serving as a historic landmark in the city, it also plays host to many of the city’s annual special events, including the Candlelight Posada and shakespeare in the Park. McAllen’s largest city park is springfest Park, which hosts many special city events and is home to McAllen’s Winter Polo League from January through March. – Carson O’Shoney

great PriVate & Public golF
With nearly 20 courses in the McAllen area, golf is a popular attraction in the Rio Grande valley. one of the most notable courses in the area is the Palm view Golf Course, a public course with a private feel. With rolling fairways and Bermuda rough mounds, the course is an often used location for professional and amateur tournaments, having hosted LPGA tournaments and Amateur Golf Championships. McAllen Country Club gives players at all skill levels a challenge, and also offers a swimming pool and tennis courts for its members. other courses surround the city, including the Club at Cimarron. every golf course in the area is constantly bustling week in and week out, especially in the winter, when “Winter texans” come to the Rio Grande valley. the

rio Grande valley Killer Bees



PHoto CouRtesy of of dutCH CoWGiLL


set for success
mcallen provides outstandinG options For ColleGe preparation


ducation in McAllen is defined by excellent options. from elementary school through college, McAllen boasts numerous institutions designed to prepare students for success.

Baccalaureate curriculum as well as the Road to College curriculum, which begins in the sixth grade.

south texas college
south texas College, with over 30,000 students, offers numerous associate and bachelor’s degree programs and professional certifications in more than 40 areas. for students who work full time, south texas College also offers online degree courses in numerous subjects.

Public schools
McAllen independent school district is composed of three high schools, seven middle schools and 20 elementary schools. Among these schools, the district offers an advanced placement college-level curriculum and a dual-enrollment program for students who can obtain high school and college credit simultaneously. the district also features an international Baccalaureate program that provides students with an advanced curriculum geared toward global standards.

uniVersity oF texas-Pan american
university of texas-Pan American offers numerous undergraduate degrees, more than 50 master’s degrees, and three doctoral degrees. utPA has several accreditations from organizations like the Commission for Collegiate nursing, the examining Board of nurse examiners for the state of texas and the engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for engineering and technology. – Braxton Shoop

idea academy
ideA Academy is an innovative institution that offers a fully scaled curriculum from kindergarten through high school. to prepare its students to be collegiate scholars, ideA provides international

south texas College

Jeff Adkins

i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m


COmmunITy OveRvIeW
McAllen is an area with a burgeoning arts culture. the city is known statewide for the quality and quantity of its artists.

hOusehOLd InFORmaTIOn

sIze In squaRe mILes

total City population


median resident age

median household income

TIme zOne


median home price

CLImaTe OveRvIeW
McAllen has a semi-tropical climate, with an average annual temperature of 74 degrees. its mild winters and warm summers make it a perfect destination for both tourists and retirees.

median rent for a two-Bedroom apartment

age 19 and under

age 20-54

49 F
winter low temperature

age 55 and over

96 F
summer high temperature


annual rain Fall (vs. national average annual rain Fall of 37”)

17 minutes
median travel time to work

Family Physicians Clinic Magic Valley Electric Cooperative McAllen Bone & Joint Clinic PA McAllen Country Club McAllen Independent School District

visit our

McAllen International Airport South Texas Health System Springhill Suites by Marriott Valley International Airport


through the Lens

get the story behind the Photo
now that you’ve experienced McAllen through our photos, see it through the eyes of our photographers. visit to view our exclusive photographers’ blog documenting what all went in to capturing those perfect moments.

From our Photo blog: mcallen
i have shot photos for McAllen many times over the past eight years. the first year i visited, i saw this neon cowboy and really wanted to shoot it right at dusk. After the fates conspired against me in getting the shot two visits in a row, you better believe the next time that i went i got the shot. And here it is!

Posted By Antony BosHieR

more online
See more favorite photos and read the stories behind the shots at
i m aG e s m C a l l e n . C o m


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