Friday, June 9, 2017

BWC: $360,000 FOR HEALTHY ELITIST BOHEMIAN HANGOUT

By Juan Montoya
The Brownsville Wellness Coalition not only wants you to stop eating gorditas, tamales, barbacoa and other lard-laden antojitos, it also wants $360,000 of your sales tax  money to set up a shop that will cater to the health conscious at an old deserted Quonset hut across from Cummings Middle School.

In an application for a capital project grant from the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation, the BWC is asking for $360,000 to begin the first of three phases of improvements on the 1939-circa corrugated metal building starting with replacement and structural repair of the roof, electrical safety repairs and repair and replacement of the doors and windows.

In their application, the group says it really needs $1.4 million, but will settle for the first $360,000 from the BCIC for now. They say they have $72,000 in matching funds and are "seeking other funding opportunities through grants and other partners."

"The aim is to transform the warehouse from an empty abandoned building with a structure that has been deteriorating. The building reflects the history and cultural district of Brownsville...It has holes in roof and water damage. The City of Brownsville also has the expense of in-kind donation of support to setup the farmers' market every Saturday at Linear Park. This would eliminate this expense for COB."

As the BWC sees it, repairing the Quonset hut with the first $360,000 from the BCIC would allow it to enter the second and third phases of the transformation. The second phase which will not be covered by the BCIC grant would cover the interior and kitchen areas and the third would be outdoor signage and landscaping.

After the $1.4 million is spent, it hopes that the building will serve as a storage place for the tents and fixtures of the farmers' market, space for artisans, a restaurant-vendor area, commercial kitchen, cold storage hub, storage, education classrooms and office space.

"Behind all the rust and old fixtures we know that renovating this building can become a gem for the City of Brownsville. The building has history and culture and tourists like to travel and see. We would attract much tourism by telling the story of the area and renovating it into a multipurpose building like it has been done in other cities in Texas. The community will also embrace the history and activity that will be added to our city at this location."

It gets better.

"BWC and partners will develop and strengthen community amenities to improve quality of life.; Contribute to economic development within Brownsville with this project; Contribute to tourism development within Brownsville and Rio Grande Valley. Currently all Mitte Cultural District members receive lots of tourism in the area and this will create a better experience of our city."

The group also included a letter of support from the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts director Rene van Haafen who wrote that "by having artisan space in said building will expand end enhance the programs of the BMFA."

The BMFA should know something about milking the public's teat. It receives an annual $50,000 grant from the City and received $41,418 in free utilities in 2015, $33,000 in 2016, and another $42,000 for 2017.

The BWC – which is best known as Rose Timmer and Rose Gowen's thing – is already getting free services from the city for its farmers' market at Linear Park. In its Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), the city agreed to provide city personnel to erect and remove tents and chairs every Saturday morning for use by the BWC and its vendors, to provide funding to manage, support and sustain the farmers' market at an annually agreed upon sum. In return, the BWC agreed to establish five community gardens in city owned lots provided that the city provides the labor, material equipment and other sources of support.

We wonder how many hungry people that cornucopia of produce will feed? Or does the city commission get first dibs at that, too?

The fact is, certain well-heeled individuals have figured out a way to milk the city for money to fund their pet projects to the detriment of the rest of the population. If it isn't bike trails, it's paying for plastic bags to fund duck ponds, hitting up the city for money to remove gum or cigarette butts from sidewalks, or closing off the city at great public expense to local merchants for the fabled cyclobias. In fact, the BWC has hit upon the BCIC at least twice already – once in 2015 and the other on 2016 – for "promotional" grants. Without the free cash, we probably wouldn't hear of these fine folks.

How a $360,000 grant from the BCIC will make it be "a catalyst and proactively partner with organizations who invest resources to improve the city of Brownsville’s quality of life by enhancing aesthetic, cultural, and leisure amenities" is hard to tell.

Recently, in announcing that it would contribute $550,000 to the Brownsville Sports Park to replace the artificial sports turf with a synthetic turf field, 8-foot offset goals for soccer and football, and a new LED video scoreboard, BCIC Executive Director Rebecca Castillo said the organization will focus on money-generating projects.

"The investment on behalf of the BCIC towards the Brownsville Sports Park exemplifies what is yet to come for the City of Brownsville, Texas through our newly adopted economic development plan,” Castillo said in a press release. “We look forward to the return of the investment this project will have as we continue to ready our sports and recreational assets throughout the city and proceed towards the accomplishment of our strategic goals.”

If the BWC is successful in attaining its $1.4 million though the BCIS and other "partners," what the city will get will be a place where it will cater to an elite segment of Brownsville society. The building is located across from Cummings Middle School, a facility which the Brownsville Independent School District is trying to close because of a low student population. It is also situated in the middle of two major thoroughfares (6th and 7th Streets) and isolated from any nearby neighborhoods. 

Who will these healthy-food advocates preach to, cyclists and those attending Gowen's farmers market? It would seem that it would amount to preaching to the choir, doesn't it? 

Will the BCIC remain faithful to its new mission? Or will it kowtow to the professional beggars of the public nickel with their elitist projects funded from the public treasury?

Public comment on the BWC grant application closes on June 17. If you disapprove of this handout, email director Castillo at Rebeca.castillo@cob.us

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Always against progress and change. You're the problem, juanito! I AM FOR BWC, GUEY!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sending Castillo a note saying I APPROVE of this project. Sounds like a sound idea to me.

Anonymous said...

Progress for who...dimwit. Didn't you read the article?

Anonymous said...

How about bus shelters???

Anonymous said...

How about just stop stop eating gorditas, tamales, barbacoa and other lard-laden antojitos on your own freaking dime at home.

Anonymous said...

El Hueso del Fraile is a "bohemian" place downtown where your pal Mchale visits frequently on weekends.
If you have the money and can build and attend the place go for it; it represents work for people and entertainment for those that can afford it.
Brownsville has way too many tacos de stripes, gorditas de HEB.

Anonymous said...

I bet Julieta's spawn ,Oscar,will get to be "project manager ." Lock them up!

Anonymous said...

Brownsville and Tony Martinez are great at taking something old and turning it into a money pit. With no leadership in this city, the mayor is free to throw good money after bad. We can't get the citizens to recycle and the only way to get people to ride bikes is to create trails and then give them a bike. And now Tony and friends think they can change the diet culture of this community. We have some of the best Mexican cuisine in the nation, and we want to change that. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Looks like this is right up "bohemian" Ben Neece's alley. How will he vote, juanito?

Anonymous said...

Rene Van Hatten sucks.

Anonymous said...

Requisition before you can visit this restaurant! You must ride one of the bikes that are parked all around Brownsville, rusting away because no one uses them. Who is going to be the first customer? Those in the picture?
They seem to need to let go of the "gorditas" themselves. Let people live
their lives the way que se les inche!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Here we go again, spending hard -earned taxpayers monies to benefit a special group. Instead of asking BCIC for tax money, why don't these people get their own financing Thru a bank loan, donors or fundraising events? This building should be demolish as it is falling apart, it seems that the city has double standards as it requires homes in substandard conditions to be demolish due to existing codes but it does not set the example by allowing this unsafe structure to be utilized as storage area. Hope that BCIC do not approve any funding for this useless building. There are other much important municipal services that need to be address such as bus shelters, street repairs, better drainage etc. Get with the program.

Anonymous said...

It cost money to make this type of dra stick changes in a community. In the end it'll be good for many.

AT said...

Jesus, Frank Mar, you really like posting twice.

Anonymous said...

When will the mamones stop?

Anonymous said...

Sounds good

Anonymous said...

This is a terrible idea. Local government has no clue how to start, manage and grow a business like a regular company that has to survive does it. Instead, "lets get it from tax money!"

Anonymous said...

Let's hope that the new city commission don't approve transfer of funds from BCIC to get this worthless piece of building to benefit a special interest group. The City of Brownsville is already taking advantage by the Farmers Market by providing city workers to set up the market every Saturday. Why don't these produce sellers go and set up shop at the 77 Fleat Market and stop milking the city? Commissioner Neece, this is your chance to stand up and stop all this out of control spending of tax payers monies. The city needs lleaders to guide the city to provide much needed municipal services to the most needed not luxuries to benefit a few. Enough is enough, stop wasting tax payers monies on pet projects, period.

Anonymous said...

these people must be out of their mind to be asking $360,000 of tax payers monies to rehab this susbstandard and deplorable building. Instead, the city should demolish and sell the property to the Zoo for additional parking. Stop wasting tax money on pet projects to benefit a special group, get to work instead of asking for hang outs. We need municipal services for the most needed not luxuries.

Anonymous said...

Yes, go sell at the flea market or are the customers at the flea market not up to your standards? CITY , you have better things to do with our monies, like building more shelters for people waiting for transportation and fixing streets , to name a few. Wow , these commissioners really divide our community. Remember "No soy mas que tu, o menos que tu." Unfortunately, our city leaders think they are royalty.

Anonymous said...

Might make a good hurricane shelter.

Anonymous said...

What a waste of money. Tear that ugly building down. What is wrong with Gowan? Stop her madness Ben. There are plenty of historically significant buildings that need restoring, and could cash flow. Like our most prominent, the old multi-story hotel downtown. At the least it would turn this eyesore into our landmark building, as it should be. Federal grants for old folks housing would also be available.

Anonymous said...

Usually stupid ideas like trying to save that ugly steel building, are due to corruption. Corrupt politicians always use the, "I'm stupid" excuse, to hide their corruption. Build bus shelters, or anything that's useful for our gente Benjamin. Damnit. Tell Doc Rose to shut up.

Anonymous said...

There are few to no produce sellers at this "farmers" market. And we sit only 60 miles away from McAllen, the fresh produce capital of the world. Do something real for B'ville Dr Rose, and go get those McAllen boys to send a truck load of uber fresh tomatoes, pinas, avocados, bananas, etc, to your elitist market. People won't eat more healthy foods, unless it looks good, is good, and is popular. Their wholesale prices would also help.

Anonymous said...

How about bus shelters?...TELOSICO Erasmo Castro

Anonymous said...

New city commissioners, please take the lead on not approving any tax monies to make improvements to this worthless building. There are far more other priorities to consider. We are fed up of this uncontrolled spending for pet projects, the Farmers Market is already taking advantage of the city by providing city workers to help them set up every Saturday so that they can make money at tax payers expense. Enough is enough, no more tax monies to benefit a special interest group. The Farmers Market needs to be set up at the 77 Fleat market and stop asking for free handouts.

Anonymous said...

The BWC must be out of their mind to be asking for $1.4 million to rebuild that worthless building. What's worse, they will benefit a special group, hope that the City Commission do not approve such request, it is high time to stop wasting tax dollars on pet projects and get back to the basics of providing much needed municipal services for the most needed, Commissioners Neece and Mungia, this is your first opportunity to stand up and stop this out of control spending once and for all. Please keep in mind La Casa Del Fraude I mean Nylon when casting your valuable votes.

Anonymous said...

"WE HAVE SOME OF THE BEST MEXICAN CUISINE IN THE NATION"..

Are you fucking kidding me?!


Anonymous said...

Really ? Save this building to benefit someone's pet project? This building should be condemned !!!

Anonymous said...

Stop using tax payers monies for pet projects, get to work and quit askng for freebies from the city.

Anonymous said...

Let's hope that BCIC and the city commission don't approve this request of $360,000 since we know that they will be asking for the rest of the $1.4 million later on to finish the project. City leaders need to focus on real necessities of our most needed citizens and stop wasting tax dollars to benefit the elite. The BWC needs to stop asking for our tax dollars for their projects. We need new bus shelters, street repairs, better drainage and improvement on street lights. We don't need luxuries, we need real municipal services.

rita