A controversial move to establish a historic district in downtown El Paso is impacting another controversy in the city: what to do with the more than 100 year-old Duranguito neighborhood?
That neighborhood, located in an area where the City of El Paso has been wanting to build a new $180 million multi-purpose arena, has been the center point of a battle between those who want to demolish it and those arguing for its preservation.
Now, a move on the party of El Paso County to establish a historic district, which would be recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, has come under fire partly because it will serve as one more obstacle to eventually doing away with the neighborhood altogether.
As proposed, that district designation would encompass nearly 300 historic properties, as well as just over a dozen buildings in Duranguito.
The district designation has additionally been opposed by a group of property owners who say that once the district becomes reality it will make it more expensive for them to make structural upgrades to the buildings.
What happens next is unknown. Members of the El Paso County Commissioners Court have said that they want the district proposal to be more fully discussed.
“There needs to be substantial and meaningful dialogue involving the county, the city, and representatives of downtown property owners,” businessman Paul Foster, who owns a substantial amount of property in the downtown area, commented during a meeting of the Commissioners Court.
Plans for the building of the multi-purpose arena, which include demolishing the Duranguito neighborhood, have been put off, partly due to court challenges.
By Garry Boulard
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