Mission Statement: To coordinate improvements, promotions, and economic redevelopment activities in Downtown Harlingen, in partnership with various public and private groups and individuals.
Vision Statement: Downtown Harlingen is a thriving and vibrant area of economically viable and unique businesses with activities that attract local citizens and visitors. An attractive streetscape, renovated buildings of diverse architectural styles, and an appealing mix of restaurants, shops, offices, and housing entices residents and businesses to invest in the historic city center.
Downtown Harlingen, a Public Improvement District, was established in 1989 to foster economic growth and redevelopment in Harlingen’s central business district. Today more than 170 businesses or organizations operate in Downtown Harlingen. The mix of retail and service businesses, government and nonprofit offices, financial institutions, and restaurants includes the city’s oldest, most established businesses, national chains, and young entrepreneurs.
The downtown revitalization program has been a public/private partnership since its beginning. In addition to funding provided by the City, Downtown property owners have voted six times to tax themselves through an annual assessment to generate revenue for improvements including landscaping, signage, promotions, and storefront enhancements. A seven-member Board of Directors appointed by the Mayor and City Commission oversees the expenditures of assessment funds. The Downtown Manager, Redevelopment Specialist, and Maintenance Coordinator coordinate daily operations with other city departments, volunteers, property owners, and businesses managers.
Economic growth, creation of new jobs, historic preservation, and development of community pride are among the goals of the program. Downtown Harlingen is affiliated with the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Main Street Program administered by the Texas Historical Commission. The Main Street Four-Point Approach that guides Downtown Harlingen is a comprehensive revitalization strategy in which staff and volunteers work to implement projects in four key areas:
Design – Enhancing the downtown’s physical appearance through building rehabilitation, storefront improvements, signs, landscaping, murals, merchandising, and displays, partnering with public and private sector groups in beautification and public improvement projects, and educating people about the importance of quality design, historic preservation, and good visual presentations.
Economic Restructuring – Strengthening and diversifying the downtown’s economic base by helping existing businesses to grow and expand, property owners to convert unused or underutilized buildings into productive commercial space, and downtown businesspeople to sharpen their competitiveness and merchandising skills.
Promotion – Marketing the commercial district through events, advertising, printed materials, and public relations to attract customers, potential investors, new businesses, residents, and visitors.
Organization – Building consensus and cooperation among public and private groups and individuals through partnerships and effective, ongoing management and advocacy for the downtown.
For more information on Downtown Harlingen contact: