Convention center meeting rooms to be named after native birds

November 28, 2018

HARLINGEN — The great kiskadee will help lead guests to the $16.7 million convention center’s grand ballroom.

For 25 years, the Rio Grande Valley Birding Festival has drawn thousands of eco-tourists to the city.

And the image of the great kiskadee has emblazoned the festival’s logo.

Already, the convention center has been tapped as the festival’s new home.

Earlier this week, city commissioners agreed to name the convention center’s main meeting areas after some of the native bird species that helped put the city on the map.

The city’s native bird species faced competition rising out of the city’s history — from city founder Lon C. Hill and King Cotton to the Iwo Jima Memorial.

But after reviewing the names of Texas heroes, flowers and trees, City Commissioner Michael Mezmar suggested native birds be used to name the Harlingen Convention Center’s main meeting rooms.

So Mezmar recommended the great kiskadee be engraved on the plaque that will loom over the entrance of the 16,200-square-foot grand ballroom.

“I think this is really unique to us,” Commissioner Victor Leal told commissioners, referring to the city’s draw as a birding mecca.

Commissioners asked BC Lynd Hospitality, the San Antonio-based company that will operate the convention center and split any profits or deficits, and the city’s Convention & Visitors Bureau to select native birds to name two meeting rooms, a bridal room, an outdoor pavilion and a hallway.


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