Work building a $2.5 million visitors center at the San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso may begin later this year, now that the project has been approved as part of a larger citywide capital improvement plan.
On a 5 to 3 vote, members of the El Paso City Council have given a green light to some $94 million in capital improvement projects that will be partially funded through the issuance of certificates of obligation.
Those certificates will bring with them a 1 percent increase in city property taxes. The rest of the projects will be funded by about $150 million in Quality of Life bonds approved by El Paso voters in 2012, with another $30 million coming from existing capital improvement money.
Besides the highly visible San Jacinto visitors center project, upcoming El Paso capital improvement projects include $12 million for the site preparation and building of both a media studio and conference center at the site of the Cohen Stadium.
That stadium is slated to be demolished to make way for a new mixed-use entertainment district.
Plans are also in the works for the $5.2 million construction of what is being called the Westside Conference Center in the city’s Council District 1; along with $1.5 million for the Alameda Recreation Center field at 7330 Alameda Avenue on the southeast side of the city.
The largest chunk of money, more than $64 million, will go for improvements to what are regarded as the most-travelled roads in various parts of El Paso.
The debt incurred as part of El Paso’s capital improvement plan will be absorbed into the 2019 fiscal year budget, with other sources of funding for the various projects to come from the city’s lodging tax and possible public/private investment.
By Garry Boulard
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