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Building on potential: Cortez named Citizen of the Year

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, February 13, 2019
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Top honor

TOP HONOR – Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford presents Jonathan Cortez with the Citizen of the Year award at the 2019 Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce Banquet Saturday. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

After accepting the award for individual business of the year on behalf of his Edge Crew Saturday, Jonathan Cortez thought his time on stage for the evening was over.

But moments later, Bridgeport Police Chief Steve Stanford called Cortez back to the front of the Decatur Conference Center to accept the Citizen of the Year honor at the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce Banquet.

“It’s very unexpected and very appreciated,” Cortez said. “It really surprised the heck out of me.”

Cortez, a Bridgeport native, is the owner of Edge Crew Construction, Edge Fitness and Edge Group Properties.

Over the past several years, Cortez has played a major role in revitalization of Halsell Street in downtown Bridgeport. He owns nine properties downtown, many that are now occupied after sitting vacant for many years.

He and his wife, Michelle, moved their offices into a remodeled building on Halsell this fall.

Gratitude

GRATITUDE – Jonathan Cortez gives thanks to the city and members of the Bridgeport Chamber of Commerce after being named the Citizen of the Year Saturday. Messenger photo by Richard Greene

“Many were dilapidated for years,” Cortez said. “It’s nice to show with dedication and money what’s possible. People want to see the area thrive.”

Halsell’s rebirth has helped fuel an economic recovery in the city. It saw its sales tax receipts jump 27.29 percent to $213,263 in December from the $167,538 brought in during December 2017. For the months of November and December, Bridgeport collected $389,612 off its 1.5 rate – a 20.7 percent or $66,836 increase for the same two months in 2017.

Chamber of Commerce President Terry Everett said Cortez’ efforts downtown have made a big difference.

“It’s not only changed the look but the energy of the town,” Everett said. “I’m thankful he’s chose his hometown to put his money and effort into.

“He gave us the shot we needed.”

Cortez was quick to give credit to city leaders for promoting development downtown.

“A lot of it has to do with the city willing to grow and work with private developers,” he said. “You can only go as far as the city allows. They are a big part of what’s been achieved downtown.”

Along with his work in the community, he’s also donated his time to promote it. For several years, he organized the Caveman Crawl at the Northwest OHV Park. The obstacle-course races brought thousands of people to Bridgeport.

“I’ve always had a passion for the area and could see the potential that was available,” Cortez said. “I’ve tried to continue to promote it.

“It’s a close-knit community. We lived in Grapevine for eight years. But once we decided to have kiddos, we knew there was not a better place to raise a family.”

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