SpaceX founder Elon Musk has established the ‘Gateway to Mars’ at Brownsville’s Boca Chica Beach located in Cameron County, Texas, along the border with Mexico. Brownsville is a small city situated approximately 30 minutes away from SpaceX’s South Texas Launch Site, from where Musk envisions a fleet of Starships lifting off towards the Red Planet. In March, Musk pledged to donate $30 Million (M) to help improve the city. –“Am donating $20M to Cameron County schools & $10M to City of Brownsville for downtown revitalization,” he said.
Since his statement, the Musk Foundation has donated millions to different schools and organizations in Brownsville and neighboring Cameron County towns. This week, the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation (BCIC) shared that it partnered with the Musk Foundation to accelerate Brownsville’s downtown revitalization efforts through the Business Improvement & Growth (BIG) Program. “The city is experiencing a rapid growth in interest for all kinds of commercial and residential development; Downtown Brownsville included. The city of Brownsville and BCIC are proud to receive support from the Musk Foundation to help accelerate the growth in our city through programs that are attainable and inclusive for anyone who wishes to participate,” said Mayor of the City of Brownsville Trey Mendez. “We know that through this donation others from the private sector will begin to partner closely with BCIC to continue accelerating the continued success we are achieving for our community,” he stated.
“BCIC is ecstatic with the success our BIG program has had over the years in assisting in the revitalization of historic downtown Brownsville. What started as a pilot program to help spur economic development in downtown has evolved into a juggernaut of a program for BCIC,” says Michael J. Limas, Chair of the Board for BCIC. “BIG has assisted entrepreneurs small and large to overcome obstacles that at times can hinder their ability to have a fast start. BCIC is proud to have a program that is open and inclusive to all business owners who dream of having their product or service in the 2nd most historic downtown district in Texas. We are very honored and appreciative of the Musk foundation for supporting BIG and helping to amplify opportunities for those within our community,” they stated in a press release on June 17.
According to a local television report from KVEO news, a BIG project coordinator and Executive Director of BCIC Josh Mejia said that one of the downtown revitalization efforts plans involves building structures for 'mixed-use', like a second floor on top of retail shops that could be used for housing. The multiple purpose buildings will be offered at an ‘affordable price point.’ “There’s going to be a need for professionals to be able to have a home near downtown,” said Mejia. “We understand that there have been folks who’ve lived here for many generations so we’d also like to support that as well.” You can watch Mejia discuss the project in a segment of the KVEO TV report in the video linked below. [This article has been updated with information from Mr. Mejia's Tweet.]
@JaneidyEve thank you for your editorial piece! For the record, the interest in downtown development is expected to be “mixed-use” however we are open to all forms of revitalization while making opportunities equitable and inclusive.— Josh Mejia (@JoshMejiaTX) June 23, 2021
Earlier this year, the Musk Foundation donated over $2 Million dollars to the Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) which manages 54 public schools in Cameron County that provide education to 43,028 students from pre-kindergarten to high schools that offer early college programs. BISD also provides education and care for students with special needs. BISD shared in a press release that the Musk Foundation awarded the school district a total of $2,412,000 (two million four hundred twelve thousand dollars). The Point Isabel Independent School District situated in Port Isabel, across South Padre Island, announced that it received approximately $123,000 dollars from the Musk Foundation. And South Texas IDEA Public Schools received $459,000 from Musk to enhance science education programming. All donation amounts were determined based on the amount of students enrolled.
KVEO NEWS TV REPORT
Featured Image Source: Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation