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First lady of Texas to visit Brownsville Renderings for building renovations to be unveiled Friday

Cecilia Abbott, the first lady of Texas, will visit downtown Brownsville from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Friday as part of the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Main Street Program’s 2016 First Lady’s Tour. A ceremony will be held at the Cueto Building, located at 1301 E. Madison St. Michelle Espinoza/The Rider

Cecilia Abbott will visit Brownsville Friday as part of the “Texas Main Street Program 2016 First Lady’s Tour,” in which she will display a rendering of three possible building renovations on Washington Street.

“[Abbott will] unveil a rendering that showcases the potential of downtown Brownsville in the event that owners were to rehabilitate their buildings,” said Miriam Suarez, Brownsville Main Street manager. “So, we chose a series of buildings–three buildings that are side by side in downtown Brownsville. The Texas Historical Commission has a group of architects that work on design services for Main Street communities.”

The three buildings are Zepeda Hardware, Rutledge Burgers and the Alamo Clothing Co.

The event is sponsored by the Texas Historical Commission (THC). Each year, the THC selects up to five Texas cities for official Main Street designation. This year Brownsville, Sherman and Corpus Christi were selected and Abbott will inaugurate those cities during her tour.

“It’s a platform for cities and towns to collaborate and share ideas and best practices,” Chris Florance, THC’s director of Public Information and Education division, said of the Main Street program.

Over the course of its 25-year history, the program has helped 175 communities. These communities have seen more than $3.2 billion in economic reinvestment and the program has supported more than 34,000 local jobs and helped start more than 9,000 businesses.

“The core of it is that the communities that participate and the communities that are accepted into it, they really made that commitment to preserving their historic–the historic fabric of their community,” Florance said. “So, they’ve worked to preserve historic buildings downtown and not just preserve and restore them but kind of repurpose them, so that they can, you know, have new life.”

The ceremony and reception is open to the public and will take place from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Friday at the Cueto Building, located at 1301 E. Madison St.

Abbott will be welcomed with artwork from local and UTRGV artists and by Brownsville Independent School District students, who will serenade her.

“We’re probably going to showcase, possibly, faculty artwork along with student artwork at the Cueto Building,” said Alejandro Macias, a visual arts lecturer at UTRGV. “We’re obviously trying to showcase what the students are capable of doing, so we’re obviously going to showcase our strengths–each individual strength.”

For more information, call Suarez at 548-6156.

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