McAllen submitted a bid Monday for the 2014 Palm Bowl, which would return the NCAA Division II football championship to the City of Palms.
Once held at the McAllen High School football stadium, the Palm Bowl moved to Florence, Ala., after the 1985 matchup between North Dakota State University and the University of North Alabama. Returning the nationally televised Palm Bowl to McAllen would boost the city’s profile — and the local economy.
If selected, the City Commission plans to spend $3 million upgrading the McAllen High School football stadium for the Division II championship. The McAllen Development Corp. approved funding for the stadium renovations Monday afternoon.
Assuming the NCAA green-lights McAllen’s application during December, the renovations would take four or five months, Deputy City Manager Brent Branham told the Development Corp.’s board. Construction would finish before the 2014 high school football season.
“It’s going to be tight to get it done by the end of August of ’14,” Branham said.
Before renovating the stadium, though, the City Commission must seek approval from the McAllen Independent School District’s board.
The City Commission and school board recently approved a short-term license agreement covering the 2014 Palm Bowl, but the agreement doesn’t cover any renovations.
Mayor Jim Darling and school board President Debbie Crane Aliseda signed the license agreement Sept. 11. Under the agreement, the school district will charge the city $4,000 to reserve Dec. 14 to Dec. 21, 2014, for the Palm Bowl. The City Commission had proposed a 20-year lease agreement, which included the $3 million stadium renovation.