A virtual public input meeting has been conducted in El Paso asking residents for their thoughts on the design of the upcoming Mexican American Cultural Center.
Construction of the center has been in the planning and talking stage for several years and is one of the marquee projects to be funded out of the Quality of Life bonds approved by voters in 2012.
The center, designed to honor the more than 70 percent of El Paso’s population of Mexican American heritage, recently survived a move by several members of the El Paso City Council who thought it would make more economic sense in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak to suspend its construction.
Although many residents and community activists had plugged for a stand-alone center, the council in late 2018 voted to approve a plan incorporating the center into the city’s larger Main Library at 501 N. Oregon in downtown El Paso.
In so doing, the council also approved $15 million in funding for both the construction of the new center as well as an upgrading of the library facility itself.
Of that $15 million total, just under $6 million is coming out of the Quality of Life bonds.
The project has been challenged by delays revolving around where it would ultimately be built, and funding issues as a result of a less than successful private giving campaign.
Final design presentations on the project are expected to be completed by early this summer, with work on the library renovations starting mid-summer.
The actual building of the new center itself is now slated to begin sometime this fall.
By Garry Boulard
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