Livability McAllen, TX 2014

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    2014 | SPONSORED BY THE MCALLEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

    livability.com/mcallen

    MCALLENTEXAS

    GLOBALLEARNINGDistrict expandsIB programsto all schools

    New Nestfor CreativityIncubator hatches ideas,enriches local arts scene

    http://www.livability.com/mcallenhttp://www.livability.com/mcallenhttp://www.livability.com/mcallen
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    http://www.instagram.com/http://www.pinterest.com/http://www.youtube.com/http://www.twitter.com/http://www.facebook.com/http://www.southtexashealthsystem.com/
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    http://www.instagram.com/http://www.pinterest.com/http://www.youtube.com/http://www.twitter.com/http://www.facebook.com/http://www.mcallenmedicalcenter.com/
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    http://www.instagram.com/http://www.pinterest.com/http://www.youtube.com/http://www.twitter.com/http://www.facebook.com/http://www.mcallenhearthospital.com/
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    CONTENTS

    Things to Do 8 Attraction

    New Nest for Creativity Incubator hatches ideas

    and enriches the localarts scene

    12 LocalFlavor

    McAllens FoodScene Heats Up

    14 Arts&Culture

    Heres Your To-Do List

    16 Sports&Recreation

    A Growing Playground

    Living22 Education

    Global Learning McAllen ISD

    expands International

    Baccalaureate programs

    26 Schools

    Set for Success29 Health

    Big on Health Care

    31 Community Profile

    Business37 Business Overview

    The Best of Times

    40 Small Companies

    Small Businesses,

    Big Opportunities

    45 ChamberReport

    Whats the Big Idea?

    47 Economic Profile

    On The CoverMcAllen Creative Incubator Photo by Wendy Jo OBarr

    4Welcome to McAllen An introduction to the community

    8

    12

    40

    MCALLEN2014 EDITION VOLUME 12

    TEXAS

    PLEASE RECYCLETHIS MAGAZINE

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    Public Art Graces Downtown McAllenLocated on Main Street in McAllens Arts District, The Three

    Graceswas created by artist Mick Reber. The 15-foot-tall

    sculpture, made of steel and weighing about 3,000 pounds,represents the graces of faith, hope and charity.

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    AT A GLANCE

    Cultural diversity, progressivebusiness practices and a booming

    economy best characterize McAllen,which is one of the fastest growingmetros in Texas and part of one ofthe fastest growing MSAs in theU.S. A location just five milesfrom the U.S.-Mexico border andclose to Reynosa, Mexicos largepopulation has made it a magnetfor retail, international trade,tourism and manufacturing.

    ABUNDANT LIVING

    McAllens economic mix meanstangible benefits for residentsbeyond a strong job market. Theytake their picks among diverseshopping and dining options thatinclude hundreds of national brandsand unique, independent retailers.

    The resulting tax base meansthe city can offer first-rate amenitiessuch as a massive, state-of-the-artlibrary; in-town bus service; awesomeparks; and hiking and biking trailsthat are enjoyed year round, thanks

    to a desirable warm climate.With all this and much more,

    McAllen also consistently ranksamong cities with the lowest costof living in the U.S.

    GREAT FOR BUSINESS

    McAllen is good for business,big and small. More than 100Fortune 500 companies havea presence within the McAllenMSA, while the city also has been

    recognized recently by CNNMoneyamong its Best Places to Launcha Small Business.

    Key factors bringing expansionsand entrepreneurs are an excellentquality of life, numerous advancedmedical facilities, a comprehensivefinancial services community,demonstrated logistics advantagesto reach existing and new markets,and a mostly young, bicultural andbilingual population.

    Read on to discover whyMcAllen is one of Americas bestplaces to live.

    McAllen, TexasA QUICK, COMPREHENSIVE OVERVIEW OF WHATS GREAT ABOUT THE COMMUNITY

    o ran e

    RioGrande

    83

    281

    281

    83

    7

    281

    77

    eynosa

    Weslacoarlingen

    Edinburg

    MissionPharr

    McAllen

    HIDALGO

    MEXICO

    UNITED

    STATES

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    McAllen Chamberof Commerce1200 Ash Ave.McAllen, TX 78501

    Phone:(956) 682-2871

    Fax: (956) 687-2917

    www.mcallenchamber.com

    LOCATION

    McAllen is in the Rio Grande Valleyof South Texas, situated just 70 miles

    west of the Gulf of Mexico. McAllenis the largest city in Hidalgo County.

    POPULATION

    133,821(McAllen)774,769(MSA)

    ANNUAL RAINFALL

    23

    DISTANCES TO THREEMAJOR CITIES NEARBY

    San Antonio, 224 miles

    Austin, 311 milesFort Worth/Dallas, 502 miles

    TIMEZONE

    Central

    National Average: 30

    No. 2

    Best City for

    Future Job Growth

    - Forbes

    ACCOLADE

    McAllen

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    Museum

    SEE THE EXHIBITS

    Visit the International

    Museum of Art and

    Science to exploremore than 50,000

    square feet of art andscience displays, such as

    paintings, sculpture andgeological collections.

    The museum also offers

    educational programsand hosts special events.

    Natural Attractions

    EXPERIENCE NATURE

    Enjoy McAllens wildlifehavens, which include

    Quinta Mazatlan, asanctuary for birds, plants

    and other wildlife;Valley

    Nature Center, the oldest

    nature center in the area;and Santa Ana NationalWildlife Refuge, home to

    record numbers of birdand butterfly species.

    Shopping

    SHOP IN STYLE

    McAllens La Plaza Malldraws more than 18 million

    visitors each year as themain shopping spot for Rio

    Grande Valley residents.Comprising 1.2 million

    square feet, the mall hasmore than 150 retailers

    and several restaurants

    in its recently renovatedfood court.

    Baseball

    ROOT FOR THEHOME TEAM

    The McAllen Thunderand

    Edinburg Roadrunnersare baseball teams

    that play at EdinburgBaseball Stadium. Both

    teams are membersof the North American

    League, an independent

    professional league.

    THINGS TO DOMcAllens must-do attractions, activitiesand dining

    Explore the Shelves and Grab a BookCheck out the massive new McAllen Public Libraryfor a variety of family-friendly activities. The library hasmore than 30,000 childrens books and audiotapes, many of which are bilingual. The library frequently hosts

    programs for children, adults and teens.

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    Professional Sports

    TAKE IN A GAME ATSTATE FARM ARENA

    Cheer on the La FieraFtbol Club, a ProfessionalArena Soccer League

    Team; the RGV Killer

    Bees, a North American

    Hockey League team;and the Rio Grande

    Valley Vipers, 2010 and

    2013 NBA DevelopmentLeague champions.

    Concerts

    ENJOY THE SHOW

    Be sure to take in a

    Valley Symphony

    Orchestraperformanceby acclaimed artists.

    Ticket discounts areavailable for groups

    of more than 10. Andtake note: In addition

    to its annual concert

    season, the symphonyalso hosts a popular gala.

    Ice Skating

    HIT THE ICE

    Spend a fun-filled dayice skating at the FrioGrande Valley Ice

    Center, or play ice

    hockey or broomball.Learn to Ice Skate

    programs and figureskating lessons are

    offered, and the center

    is available for birthdayparties and lock-ins.

    THINGS TO DO

    Entertainment

    HEAD TOHAPPY HOUR

    Enjoy dinner, drinks

    and good times atthe many businesses

    located within the 17th

    Street Entertainment

    Districtof downtownMcAllen, a revitalized

    area bustling with fun

    restaurants, pubs, clubsand lounges.

    Stay in LuxuryBook a stay at the historic Renaissance Casade Palmas, conveniently located withinwalking distance from downtown and only2 miles from La Plaza Mall. The hotel offers

    a free shuttle to and from the nearby airport.

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    THINGS TO DO

    The McAllen Creative Incubator, located ina former library, includes several art studios,

    as well as a gallery, a paint lab and the Idea Lab.The McAllen Chamber of Commerce sponsors

    the Incubator, which showcases exhibits andoffers art classes to students of all ages and

    skill levels.

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    ARTS INCUBATOR GROWS ARTISTS,

    INNOVATORS AND CULTURAL OFFERINGS

    CreativityNew Nest for

    The Creative Incubator is actually rightin the middle of the art district, says Ivan

    Gonzalez, director of art development for theMcAllen Chamber of Commerce. We haveat least another five or six galleries nearby,so we all share the same concept of hostingartists so they can exhibit their work.

    Whats more, the building has roughlydouble the room of the Incubatorsformer location.

    The City of McAllen and the McAllenChamber of Commerce, which runs theIncubator, spent more than $200,000 to gutthe old library; replace carpet and lighting;

    and build studios, paint labs, workshopand classroom areas, gallery spaces, andperformance and event venues.

    We have several spaces and commonareas the artists can use to teach, make

    exhibitions, and hold their performances orworkshops. Since we moved into the [former]library, weve gotten really positive feedbackfrom the community and the local artists,Gonzalez says.

    ART CLASSES AT THE INCUBATOR

    Painter Karen Norberg, a tenant, teachesclasses at the McAllen Creative Incubator.

    Were really excited about our new digs,she says. Theres a variety of art, all the wayfrom photography to violin lessons to choir

    to, of course, the artists who are paintingand teaching painting and drawing classesall the time.

    The McAllen Creative Incubator moved early in 2013,taking residence in what used to be the citys public library at601 N. Main St. The location certainly fits, situated amidst the Arts

    District Business Center, the Art Village on Main and several galleries.

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    The intention of the Mini MakerFaire is to nurture innovation. It isabout people inventing. It has a lotof very positive energy people sharingexcitement about what they are doing and that excitement gets transferredto the attendees.

    EDUARDO MILLET,VICE PRESIDENT OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

    FOR THE MCALLEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

    Painter Alma Casso works on her latest creations

    at theMcAllen Creative Incubator, where sheteaches art classes and rents studio space. Casso

    also assists with special events at the Incubator,such as craft parties.

    The McAllen Creative Incubators revolving art exhibits are free and open to the public throughout the year.

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    Classes for both children andadults are a big draw, among thema Wine & Design class for whichpainting supplies are provided andstudents bring their own snacksand beverages.

    Were really trying to promoteour wonderful new space; were soproud of it, Norberg says.

    MCALLEN MINI MAKER FAIRE

    Another exciting aspect of thelarger space is the opportunityto hold events such as the MiniMaker Faire, a showcase oflocal innovation and inventionthat brought 50 makers and700 attendees to the McAllenCreative Incubator in June 2013.Many of the par ticipants hadbeen working with the Chambers

    Inventors & EntrepreneursNetwork, and the event celebratedtheir accomplishments.

    What we do here isentrepreneurial activism, saysEduardo Millet, vice presidentof business development for theMcAllen Chamber of Commerce,referring to the Incubators missionto help people act on their ideas.The intention of the Mini MakerFaire is to nurture innovation. It is

    about people inventing. It has a lotof very positive energy peoplesharing excitement about what theyare doing and that excitementgets transferred to the attendees.

    The venue was the perfectplace to hold the first annual MiniMaker Faire, as it is brimming withthe creativity of local artists andgrounded by the support ofChamber initiatives such as theIdea Lab and Collaboration Space,

    which provide guidance and toolsfor bringing ideas along a pathto market.

    Its a great venue, Milletsays. Any event that has to dowith innovation will flourishbecause of the creative energythat is already there.

    by Carol Cowanby staff photographer

    Wendy Jo OBarr and seniorphotographer Jeff Adkins

    Art Village on Main covers 30,000 square feet and includes four buildings that include art galleries,studios and restaurants. The village also hosts McAllens First Friday Art Walks from September to May.

    Read it online or on your tablet and

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    DIGITAL MAGAZINE

    ARTSINCUBATORGROWSARTISTS,INNOVATORSANDCULTURALOFFERINGS

    CreativityNewNestfor

    The Creative Incubatoris actually rightin the middle ofth e artdistrict, says IvanGonzalez,d irectoro fa rtdevelopmentfortheMcAllenC hamber ofC ommerce. We haveatle asta nother fiveorsix galleriesnearby, so weall share thesame conceptofh ostingartistssotheycane xhibittheir work.Whats more,th e buildinghas roughly

    doublethe room of theIncubatorsformer location.

    TheCity ofMcAllen andthe McAllenChamber of Commerce, which runs theIncubator,spentm orethan$200,000 to gutthe old library;re place carpetand lighting;and build studios, pain t labs, workshopand classroomareas, gal lery spaces,a ndperformanceand eventvenues.

    We have several spaces andcommonareas the artists can use toteach, makeexhibitions,a ndhold their performances orworkshops.S incewe movedi ntoth e [former]library,wevegotten reallyp ositive feedbackfromthe com munityand thelocal artists,Gonzalez says.

    ARTCLASSESATTHEINCUBATORPainterKaren Norberg, atenant,te achesclasses attheM cAllen Creative Incubator.

    Werereallyexcited aboutourn ewdigs,shes ays.Theresavarietyo fa rt, all thewayfrom photographytoviolin lessons to choirto,of course, thea rtists who are painting

    a ndteachingpaintingand drawingclassesallth etime.

    TheMcAllen CreativeIncubatormovedearlyin 2013, taking

    residencein whatusedto bethecityspubliclibraryat

    601 N.MainSt. The location certainlyfits, situated amidstthe Arts

    DistrictBusiness Center, the ArtVillage on Mainand several galleries.

    THI STODO

    TheMcAllen CreativeIncubator, locatedina former library, includesseveral artstudios, as well as a gallery, a paintlabandtheIdeaLab.The McAllenChamberof CommercesponsorstheIncubator,whichshowcasesexhibitsandoffersart classes tostudentsofallagesandskilllevels.

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    Tex-Mex and Mexican

    KOKOS, PONCHOS MEXICAN NUEVO, CABRITO NUEVO LEON

    For the last 20 years, McAllens own Suarez brothers have built Kokos

    into a McAllen landmark. Its uptown location, open since 2004, drawsdiners from all over the McAllen area. If youve already tried Kokos

    and youre looking for more Mexican, try Ponchos MexicanNuevoor Cabrito Nuevo Leon. Neither will disappoint.

    Irish

    SHENANIGANSIRISH PUB & GRILL

    For the best Irish...