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Home | News | Preservation Groups Present Plan, Video for the Rehabilitation of Duranguito

Preservation Groups Present Plan, Video for the Rehabilitation of Duranguito

After a Saturday conference about Duranguito and a possible second plan to preserve the area, supporters of the new plan released renderings and a video of the area.

The “El Paso Preservation Forum” hosted Preservationist J.P. Bryan, State Sen. Jose Rodriguez, and five speakers who all advocated the preservation and restoration of Duranguito, to make it an ‘Old Town’-type attraction.

Preservationist Dr. Max Grossman said the event was an “unqualified success,”  with nearly 200 residents from all walks of life in attendance.

Of the discussion, Grossman added, that “Duranguito, the birthplace of El Paso, must be preserved for posterity rather than demolished for a D-League basketball “Arena” and that it has great potential to drive heritage tourism in our downtown”.

According to the Paso del Sur Facebook page, Dr. David Romo presented a virtual reconstruction of the neighborhood created by a team of designers led by Diana Ramos.

Other members of the team were  Victor Soto, Andres Armendariz and David Dorado Romo, and the video produced by Ingrid Leyva.

As part of the presentation, the group included the following description of what Duranguito could be:

This restored neighborhood could showcases the city’s rich global border history to visitors from around the world.

The Plan for the Rebirth of Duranguito proposes a cultural heritage corridor with museums, mercados, performance areas as well as renovated low-income housing, community gardens and other residential services that provides a cutting-edge urbanistic model for historic preservation and equitable development that is truly inclusive for all sectors of the community. 

This community-generated plan for the restoration of El Paso’s oldest neighborhood is inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art of mending broken objects based on the philosophy that when something has suffered damage and has a history, it becomes more beautiful.

One of the strategies for the funding of this vision is based on a citizen’s initiative petition that is now before City Council to reallocate the 2012 bond funding to pay for the establishment of the Mexican American cultural center as part of this restored historical corridor in Duranguito.

Other proposed sources of funding for the renovated affordable housing will include federal and state funding sources, community land grants, and federal tax incentives for historic preservation projects. 

To view our in-depth coverage of the Downtown Arena Saga, click here.

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9 comments

  1. JP Bryan, Jose Rodrigues, and Max Grossman can shove it! you can’t sugar coat a dump and paint over it with LSD imagination. Downtown is starting to pick up with progress. And a downtown arena in the Union Plaza is what El Pasoans unanimously voted for in the 2012 quality of life bond issue.
    If any of these three men mentioned above had seriously any concern for this dump they would have put their money up front way in advance of the 2012 QOL bond issues.
    The best location is right there in the designated Union Plaza arena footprint,only Jose Rodrigues is an El Pasoan. With that being said, he should be voted out of the Texas state senate, JP should stay in Houston and mind his own business, and forget about the carpetbagger Max Grossman. He just want’s some fame in the sun city,maybe the city can name a sewage treatment plant after him. And he be gone. Build the downtown arena where it belongs,weird how so many delays after delays by law suits costing El Paso tax payers hundreds of thousands or more than a million dollars or more by now.
    The downtown arena will complement and match Southwest University Park Stadium in popularity,fame and help attract and improve quality for the entire downtown.
    To be reasonable,if this area now looked like Old Mesilla in Las Cruces or Old Town in Albuquerque, then and only then would it be worth saving.But nothing there now is original or has any architectural significant value. It’s rundown,blighted and a total embarrassment of an eyesore to our city making that part of downtown look sleazy.

    • I totally agree with your statement Alberto, this city needs to progress move forward. We need this Arena to compliment Southwest Unniversity Park. This part of Downtown is runned down, El Paso needs a World wide state of the Art Arena. That would steep up Downtowns economic growth and propel more growth for more tourism. It is sad that El Paso doesn’t have the appropriate world class entertainment that other cities have such as San Antonio, Texas.
      We need Great Wolf Lodge, We need a major Theme park , not a carnival park and we need the Arena of course.

    • Oh mu God, I am going to faint! I actually agree with you.

  2. Not buying their plan, let’s tear it down and get ourselves the arena we voted for already!

    These out of towners never lifted a finger for this area before the arena was proposed for this site, it’s been blighted for so many years and no one offered to buy it and restore it. Now all of a sudden they want to act like the Duranguito saviors, yeah right.. Not buying it. Build the arena we overwhelmingly voted for. This blighted site is perfect for it. Move forward El Paso, not backward.

  3. Derrill Rothermich

    And where are they going to get the money for their pie in the sky plan? Are Bryan and Grossman going to pay for this out of their own pocket? I always get a kick about things being designated “historic” here. I spent many years in Europe where unless something is not more than 2,000 years old it is not considered historic. That area has been a slum for a long time and no one cared about fixing it up before. That area is perfect for the arean as it enhances usage of the convention center. In St Louis, a football stadium was built next to the convention center and resulted in many larger conventions coming because of the additional space available. And as far as the stupid judge is concerned, if sports aren’t entertainment, just what does she think it is?

  4. This plan for the area is unsound in many ways. Economics- nobody invested in this area for 50 years, they are not going to now, no matter what you promote this area as. Without private investors you need city, state and government handouts, or incentives as you call them, I call them higher taxes. An arena has at least a chance of making money thru parking fees, sales tax revenue and hotel stays. Historical Tourism Benefits- way overstated as to power to attract. Visitors to our city, or any other for that matter come for draws like concerts, gaming, shows, sporting events, amusement parks and festivals not to see historical areas (unless they have are well established, such as Santa Fe). Although they may see a historical area while visiting, its not why they came. El Paso has a few draws but surely could use more, especially downtown. El Pasoans will not go to see a Trost designed firehouse or a mural decorated store but they will go to see a boxing match or have a beer at the ball park. Yes, history is worth saving but you can’t save it all and you can’t save it if it hinders your future. We voted for an arena downtown, not a historical district, we want concerts and sporting events not remade dilapidated buildings and concrete inspired parks (we have enough or those already)

  5. It is so FUNNY that for years the downtown footprint has been nothing but a DUMP. Yes the only people in that area were winos, drug addicts and hookers. Now the city is trying to do something good for downtown and it has all of a sudden become historical. If the ARENA does not get built that area will reamain just and old fenced yard, another EYESORE for the city of El Paso. Mr Grossman and his buddies aren`t going to preserve it.

    • It would be funny Rick, but this insistence on the area being something other than what it is, cost us the tax payers about a million so far.

  6. Here’s the deal! I was born and raised in El Paso Texas, I love my city and I especially love my downtown El Paso. I’ve been watching it grow since 1968 and before then, I use to enjoy going there with my grandmothers nanny on a long bus ride from the Lower Valley during the late 1950’s.
    Buying popcorn at the Kress and walking across the street to San Jacinto Plaza to watch the famous life alligators, also the sounds of bells ringing coming the electric streetcars.
    There where attempts before to build a downtown arena, mainly after Texas Western College won the NCAA championship in 1966.
    The city then under the administrations of both mayors,Peter D’Witter and Bert Williams had many great expectations for downtown. And not until the city finally built the downtown Civic Center and Convention Center El Paso was on a roll.
    The unique thing about downtown El Paso is that it has tons history and architectural character with it’s amazing Henry Trost designed buildings. Downtown has the best of both old vintage and newer modern buildings, telling visitors and tourist alike to the sun city. That El Paso has been around for a very long time,it’s an old city and a new modern city combined. Tucson,Phoenix,Las Vegas,Boise and Albuquerque etc.down’t have what downtown El Paso has.
    To stop braggadociously bragging about El Paso’s downtown all those cities mention look alike as well as their skyline. All modern looking, but no architectural character.
    Downtown El Paso in on a roll and someone with the likes of JP Bryan and Max Grossman are trying to ruin the progress that the city has made within the past ten years.
    Mind you that mayor Dee Margo and city council offered JP Bryan to buy them out of the Union Plaza, and the best that they could come up with is the lame design for the dump aka the durangito. All in a sudden out of nowhere,a paint job for the area, what or who do they think we are, “stupid”!
    Hardly that, is why voters overwhelmly and unanimously approved the 2012 Quality Of Life bond issues to include a downtown arena.So please stop wasting our time and drop your lawsuits against the city and get a life for pete’s sake.
    Max Grossman purposely renamed the Union Plaza to the durangito after the city announced its plans to build a downtown arena at the Union Plaza.
    The guy has no roots in El Paso, and neither does JP Bryan, even if they did so,with no disrespect for either of them. They should have had some serious concern and put out financial cash up front to fix up this dump a long long time ago like thirty or forty years ago. Maybe Max Grossman was not around back them but JP Bryan was, since he has this nice thing for Henry Trost buildings.
    Just go back to Houston JP and fix your own city, after hurricane Harvey’s devastation,take Max Grossman with you and put him to work.That should keep you both pretty busy, and leave us alone. Comprendes Mendes?
    FIN!

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