BOCA CHICA BEACH, Texas (KVEO) – Without a doubt, SpaceX has brought a lot to South Texas, specifically to Boca Chica. But, it has also had a major impact on the city of Brownsville.
Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez visited memory lane, describing when SpaceX was first starting out in Cameron County.
“I remember in September of 2019, I was at the SpaceX facility for an event where Elon Musk spoke and really started to talk about Starship and the plans for a starship and everything they were going to be doing,” Mendez said.
Slowly but surely, everything SpaceX set out to do is happening. Mayor Mendez said the city of Brownsville continues to grow and SpaceX has had a big part in that.
“We’ve seen a pretty big surge over the last couple years, specifically over the last 6 months. Some of that has coincided with SpaceX growth. They’ve really ramped up operations. They’ve got about 1,400 employees right now and they’re looking for more,” he said.
With SpaceX outside city limits, Mendez said Brownsville does not profit from tax revenues or property taxes. While that would also be a benefit for the city, Mendez adds they do see indirect benefits from their operations.
“People that have moved here people that are purchasing houses people that eating locally or staying at hotels — things like that. So, we do see an indirect impact and it’s a pretty big indirect impact,” he said.
According to Mendez, now that SpaceX could have a contract with NASA in the near future, the possibilities could be endless and bigger than they anticipated, including “other space-related companies that are interested in coming to Brownsville as a result of what’s happening out there that doesn’t necessarily launch companies but that are involved in other facets of space or the space industry.”
The focus for the city is to be the destination for the SpaceX industry. Mendez hopes this will bring more people down to Boca Chica Beach in different parts of Brownsville to enjoy the history of the city.
“The last time they launched last week, I saw probably a couple of hundred people on the side of the road between here and Port Isabel, which I wasn’t expecting so that was interesting to see families, real people of all ages with their eyes on the sky looking at what was happening,” Mendez said.
As for the future of Brownsville, Mendez is excited for what the space industry will bring.
“I certainly see this industry growing, space-related businesses are probably going to be a trillion-dollar industry by 2030 so we definitely want to capitalize on that and continue to grow,” he said.