Thanks to a unanimous vote by El Paso County Commissioners, members approved funding to conduct a historical and architectural survey of Downtown El Paso.
A packed Commissioner’s courtroom was on hand to give their opinions as to why this funding was so sorely needed, after the recent loss of several historic buildings in and around the city’s center.
County Judge Veronica Escobar, via a statement on her Facebook page, stated “We are very excited to play a key role in promoting the growth and economic development of downtown El Paso! Thank you to Commissioner David Stout for bringing this item before the Court, and to the El Paso County Historical Commission for all of the amazing work they do in order to ensure the preservation and restoration of the great assets El Paso has to offer.”
Commissioners voted unanimously to authorize the funding of the survey with the use of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenues, not to exceed the amount of $140,000.
Dr. Max Grossman, Vice-Chair of the El Paso County Historical Commission and long-time supporter of the restoration and revitalization of downtown El Pase simply said, “today was a good day…the best day I’ve had in El Paso in six years…this is our Holy Grail.”
Once the survey is complete, Grossman expects investors will begin to come into downtown, restore the buildings, which will in-turn lead to a larger, community-wide effort in downtown revitalization.
County officials also said that “This decision is a significant step in obtaining a National Register district designation that will assist property owners in qualifying for federal and state tax credits to be used as an incentive to restore underutilized historic buildings.”
Grossman went on to say that the fact that all of Commissioners Court was “100% supportive of this effort and the business community backed the effort made presentation easier.
He added that, “In ten or twenty years, the community can look back on the date – February 8th – and mark it as a historic ‘before and after’ date for the revitalization and rebuilding of Downtown El Paso.