PHARR — The city of Pharr held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Wellness and Innovation Complex on Thursday.

City and state officials gathered at the complex’s future location on 1121 E. Nolana Loop to break ground and celebrate the project that they hope will encourage healthier lifestyles among Pharr residents.

“This project— we’re really excited about it,” Commissioner Roberto “Bobby” Carrillo said. “Most of all it’s a wellness innovation center which will promote a lot of health and wellness.”

The complex will feature a 120-foot mirrored waterway, a jogging trail, a building with a 150-seat lecture hall and an amphitheater with landscape seating. There will also be a park, which Laren Warren of the Warren Group Architects Inc. described as being French inspired.

“They’re going to be able to come and there will be all types of classes— obviously wellness classes,” Carrillo said. “It’s going to be an active wellness innovation center where people can sit, walk or exercise.”

Carrillo said the complex will be a first not only in Hidalgo County, but for the entire Rio Grande Valley once it’s completed.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Thursday for Pharr’s new Health and Wellness Center. (Courtesy photo)

“This has been a vision in the city of Pharr. We wanted to make sure that every part of Pharr — whether it be north, central or south Pharr — have somewhere to go to exercise and be out and about,” Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez said. “This started out in 2019 before the pandemic, but here we are in the midst of a pandemic and everybody’s going to benefit from it because it’s open space and you’re able to move around safely with social distancing.”

Hernandez said the complex will be great not only for the physical health of Pharr residents, but also for their mental health because it will provide a safe environment to enjoy outdoor activities.

The project is estimated to cost just over $10 million, of which $5 million was allocated from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Both Hernandez and Carrillo credited state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, state Rep. Sergio Muñoz Jr., and state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. with helping Pharr acquire the funding necessary for the new project.

“In addition, we have a partnership with the Valley Baptist Legacy Foundation, which has been very involved with the city of Pharr,” Hernandez said. “They really believe in what we’re doing, and that’s why they keep coming back. We are very grateful to their vision and their commitment to the citizens of Pharr and the Rio Grande Valley.”

The city anticipates the complex will open no later than June 2021.

“It is visually stimulating, auditorily stimulating. You’ll be able to hear beautiful music and smell beautiful trees,” Hernandez said. “The foliage around here being created is mature. It’s not going to be something we have to wait around for. It’s going to be a real blast to the senses.”