Possible environmental and infrastructure projects discussed during NADB public hearing

PRESIDIO — The North American Development Bank is seeking ideas from city residents regarding environmental infrastructure projects, after a recent budget increase of 100% from the United States and Mexico governments.

Energy storage, mobility, urban development, sustainable buildings and industrial parks, green manufacturing, food value chains and climate change adaptation are among the types of projects the NADB will focus on to preserve and strengthen the border region.

“Basically, it’s all green,” said Presidio’s interim City Administrator Brad Newton during a public hearing that took place on June 21 at 6 p.m.

The county already has plans to extend the water line and implement a lift station that will cost $43 million. To increase commerce with Mexico, they are also considering a unified cargo station, a trade zone and new railroads — all of which will amount to $77 million. They are also looking into financing a solar-powered water well to save electricity costs, and getting a non-potable water well on city property to irrigate the park and facilitate water sales. Additionally, Newton raised the possibility of building a new cover for the playground with solar panels.

Construction and development of these projects could end up taking 12 years to complete, said Newton, who reminded excited participants at the hearing that “none of this happens overnight.”

With a population of more than 32 million, the U.S.-Mexico border has been growing at a faster rate than either country’s national average in recent years, according to the NADB. The result has been rapid urbanization and accelerated economic growth.

Municipal Development cites resource efficiency and conservation, along with the reduction of pollutants such as solid waste and greenhouse gas emissions, as benefits that could come from forthcoming projects. If successfully implemented, these initiatives could help preserve the ecosystem and benefit Presidio residents as the city continues to adapt to continuous changes.

“We are making some improvements to the city. Unfortunately a lot of the stuff that really benefits the city, we put it in, we bury it and we don’t see it,” Newton said, in regards to infrastructure. “It’s like a kid: you see them every day, you don’t really notice them growing, but then grandma visits and goes, ‘Oh honey, how you’ve grown!’”

Presidio residents have until June 30 to submit their ideas to the city council for review.