PMDD expands Paint Presidio program, approves donations

PRESIDIO — At the Presidio Municipal Development District’s meeting on February 9, the board moved to expand the Paint Presidio program, designed to help local business owners give their shops fresh new looks. The Presidio Convention and Tourism Bureau kicked in funding to increase the budget for each individual project, and the two groups worked together to expand the regulations that dictate what the funds can be used for. 

Last year, the board didn’t get as many applications for the grant as they would have liked — Juany Rodriguez of Ell’s Beauty Salon gave her shop a facelift, and the Bean Café used a small grant to touch up their paint, but other business owners seemed hesitant to apply. Those overseeing the program wanted to encourage more applicants.

“It’s not just for the beautification aspect — it’s also going to attract people, people that live here or people who are passing through,” PMDD Secretary Lizette Rohana explained at the board’s meeting in December.

Presidio Convention and Tourism Bureau President Arian Velazquez-Ornelas stopped by the meeting to announce that her board had decided to kick in funding for the project at their meeting the night before. Thanks to the Tourism Bureau, Paint Presidio applicants will now be eligible for an additional $500 for each project. 

In a departure from the original grant stipulations, Velazquez-Ornelas explained that she wanted her organization’s funding to go toward labor costs. “A lot of the older buildings need to be sanded, they need to take off thick layers of paint,” she said. “Just bringing them down to the original color to be able to start anew is pretty expensive.”

After a long discussion, PMDD decided to follow suit, freeing up all $1500 of each individual grant to provide for labor costs as well. They’re planning to work with the Tourism Bureau to put together an informational packet including the contact information for local artists and contractors in the original spirit of the grant, which was designed to encourage business owners to stay local when purchasing materials to improve their businesses. 

The board adjourned into executive session for several hours to determine dollar amounts for donations to local organizations. In the end, PMDD authorized $5,000 to purchase new boots for Presidio’s volunteer fire department, $5,000 toward improvements at the Lipan Apache Cemetery, and $15,000 to revive the dormant Presidio daycare center. The group also discussed which of their real estate holdings would be an appropriate place for a proposed community garden in collaboration with the Big Bend Conservation Alliance. 

For more information or to pick up a grant application, stop by the PMDD office at 1301 San Gabriel Street Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. or call 432-244-1219 to set up an appointment.