Following a national trend, city officials in El Paso are making plans to build a public park on an overpass spanning Interstate 10.
Members of the El Paso City Council in a 5 to 2 vote have approved an effort to secure federal funding for what is being called the I-10 Upper Deck Project.
Those funds would come through the Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grant program.
Grants through the program are designed to support any number of surface transportation infrastructure projects.
According to city documents, the I-10 Upper Deck project would be designed to create “connectivity between Uptown and Downtown providing exceptional recreational and cultural activities to the community.”
The Uptown side of the overpass is to the northwest of I-10, with the downtown side on the southeast side of the highway.
A total price tag for the project has not been announced, but it is thought that it will cost around $5 million to complete the design phase.
That design phase is scheduled for the summer of 2022.
In recent years, similar projects - seeing the transformation of highway overpasses no longer in use into public parks with green space, trees, and walking and biking paths - have been undertaken in New York, Boston, St. Louis, and Dallas, among other cities.
In a study two years ago for the Pew Charitable Trust, writer Martha Moore observed: “The most popular place to put a city park is, increasingly, on a highway.”
“In crowded cities,” Moore continued, “highway deck parks are a way to create new acreage and provide green space that can spur downtown development.”
By Garry Boulard
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