DOUGLAS, AZ (KOLD News 13) - Construction has been completed at the Raul H. Castro Port of Entry, turning a recently donated parcel of land into a parking lot.
The donation occurred through a partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Donations Acceptance Program, the U.S. General Services Administration, and the city of Douglas.
CBP officers did not have a designated parking area for their personal vehicles while they worked their shift at the port. As a result, the officers were forced to park in the port of entry, taking up vital space needed to process entering vehicles. To help alleviate this issue and assist in ensuring CBP operations could function at full capacity, the city of Douglas determined nearby existing land would be useful for conversion into a parking lot.
In September 2017, CBP entered into the agreement to receive the donated land in “as-is” condition, knowing CBP would be required to further evaluate the scope, funding, and implementation of certain security requirements before it could function as a parking lot. CBP and GSA then worked with the city to implement full reconstruction of the land in less than 70 days.
Acting Area Port Director Michael Quinonez said, “This stunning parking lot is the end result of the collaboration between the city of Douglas, GSA and CBP. Our sincere appreciation to the city of Douglas for their generous donation and to all the parties involved for making this happen.”
Douglas’ mayor called it a win-win.
“The city of Douglas is honored to partner with CBP in finding ways to make our border crossing experience smoother and safer by offering a better work environment for the men and women that operate the port of entry,” Mayor Robert Uribe said. “This is a win-win situation for the community, for trade and for CBP. We remain focused on the long-term solutions to modernize the existing port and realizing construction of a new commercial port to the west, but this donation makes the situation better today, and that was essential.”
The parking lot is expected to reduce port congestion and provide added commercial vehicle staging for Unified Cargo Processing efforts. Specifically identified placement of personal vehicles removes them from areas surrounding the port, adding more space, increasing throughput, and decreasing wait times. Mexican Customs officers will be able to work jointly with CBP officers in the U.S. to inspect and process vehicles to decrease wait times by eliminating the separation of inspections.
“GSA is proud to have played a part in using our gift acceptance authority to turn this generous land donation from the city of Douglas into a functional parking lot for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers that serve this community,” said Anthony Kleppe, Land Ports of Entry Program Manager for GSA Region 9. “Additionally, this further underscores GSA’s valued relationship and continuing partnership with the city of Douglas and CBP.”