Brownsville mayor responds to Elon Musk’s promise of millions in donations

Musk Tweeted that he will be giving $20 million to Cameron County schools and $10 million to the City of Brownsville but no details yet

Elon Musk and Juan "Trey" Mendez.
Elon Musk and Juan "Trey" Mendez. (Copyright 2021 by KSAT - All rights reserved.)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas – On Tuesday, Elon Musk said on Twitter that he would donate $20 million to Cameron County schools and $10 million to the City of Brownsville for “downtown revitalization.” The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX said he would release more details next week.

Now, the City of Brownsville has issued a statement in response to the recent announcement.

In a statement issued by City of Brownsville Communications Director Felipe Romero, Mayor Juan “Trey” Mendez called the potential donations “exciting” and said he looked forward to future conversations with Musk about the Rio Grande Valley community.

“It’s certainly exciting to hear of Elon Musk’s proposed donation to the City for downtown revitalization. We look forward to a discussion about how this could help our community prosper as we take a front seat to the next chapter of space exploration and innovation,” the statement read. “For years, the City has invested in infrastructure and improvements to capitalize on the beauty and charm of our historic downtown.”

Mendez was not available for an interview, Romero said.

According to the statement, the private sector has “taken notice” of the area and city officials hope that increased investment, the announcement of several new projects and Musk’s potential capital could help “accelerate the progress even more and continue to make our city and our downtown a destination.”

Some critics have accused Musk of attempting to take advantage of one of the poorest areas in the country and leveraging his influence for his own endeavors. The city did not mention that in the statement.

Minutes before Musk’s Tweet about donations, he posted a plea for “engineers, technicians, builders & essential support personnel” to move to “Starbase,” a reference to the Boca Chica beach area where SpaceX operates and launches from.

Hours before those tweets caught the attention of national media, “SpaceX chalked up another failed landing for its futuristic, bullet-shaped Starship, as the prototype Mars rocket broke apart right before touchdown,” the Associated Press reported.

In mid-December, Mendez called Brownsville the “innovation capital” of the Rio Grande Valley after 14,000 square foot Tesla facility and showroom would be constructed in the area.

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About the Author:

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.