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Residents Join Forces for Petition to Establish a “Duranguito Historic District”

Via an email news release, local Architectural Historian Max Grossman announced a new push to keep a portion of Downtown El Paso from demolition to build a multi-purpose arena.

“I am pleased to announce a citizens’ initiative to establish a “Duranguito Historic District” on the edge of downtown El Paso,” Grossman writes, we wish to see implemented the recommendations of the 1998 City of El Paso survey, which includes creating a historic district within the boundaries of Union Plaza”

“The H-overlay district will recognize and commemorate the history, culture and people of the historic barrio.”

Grossman says the petition drive is co-organized by the El Paso History Alliance, Paso del Sur, and Save the Union Plaza Neighborhood in tandem with “friends and allies from throughout the community.”

“It is our hope that once the City has verifed the signatures on the petition that the City Council will enact the proposed ordinance. If not, the City Charter provides us with a path to place the ordinance on the ballot of the next general election specified in State law, Grossman adds.

To help get the petition off the ground, supporters will host a closed-door training session at the Rock House Cafe at 400 West Overland Avenue, in the heart of Duranguito, at 12:00pm.

All members of the general public are invited to assist with the petition effort; volunteers are asked to bring a laptop computer with Microsoft Excel installed. Shortly after the training session, supporters will be setting up petition stations at strategic locations and will continue collecting and verifying signatures until they reach the number required by law.

In order to create the district, Grossman and other preservationists are invoking Article 3.11 of the City Charter, and organizing petition. The petition reads:

We, the undersigned, being registered voters who voted in the last general election of the City of El Paso do hereby sign this petition pursuant to Section 3.11 of the Charter of the City of El Paso.  We request the City Council of the City of El Paso to place the proposed ordinance described below on the City Council agenda for a City Council meeting to be held within thirty (30) working days after receipt of this petition, which contains the names, addresses, dates of birth and signature dates of the petitioners, all of whom are registered voters who voted in the last general election of the City of El Paso.  We affirm that we are registered voters who voted in the last general election of the City of El Paso.  The proposed ordinance is as follows:

THAT THE AREA WITHIN THE CITY OF EL PASO WHOSE BOUNDARIES ARE WEST SAN ANTONIO AVENUE ON THE NORTH, PAISANO DRIVE ON THE SOUTH, DURANGO STREET ON THE WEST AND SOUTH SANTA FE STREET ON THE EAST IS HEREBY DESIGNATED AS AN HISTORIC LANDMARK AND AN HISTORIC DISTRICT (ALSO KNOWN AS AN H-OVERLAY DISTRICT) AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 20.20.040 OF THE EL PASO CITY CODE AND SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 20.20.080 OF THE EL PASO CITY CODE.  THE AREA DESCRIBED HEREIN SHALL BE KNOWN AS THE DURANGUITO HISTORIC DISTRICT.  THE BOUNDARIES OF THE DISTRICT ARE SHOWN ON FIGURE 5.52 ATTACHED HERETO.

Duranguito Historic DIstrict

 

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3 comments

  1. So then Max Grossman waves his magic wand and declares the Union Plaza a historical district? this guy just don’t get it! and don’t give up! The city council’s biggest mistake was when they changed their minds from the original downtown arena footprint location to a location of the unknown.
    And this city council best better get off their fat sofas and declare the Union Plaza downtown arena AS OFFICIAL DOWNTOWN ARENA SITE. As far as Max Grossman is concerned! all he probably wants if fame now that the county didn’t renew his position as one of the chairman of the county historical commission.
    For good reason the county gave him and his partner the boot, and that is for enter fearing with voter approved quality of life bond projects.
    We already happen to have tons of historical houses and buildings in downtown El Paso and within the vicinity, and the ones located over at Union Plaza. Are just a waste of dilapidated structures and houses who’s time has come past,they’ve seen better days 50 or 100 years ago.
    The city is wasting way too much time, this entire area should be completely bulldozed by August 1st 2017,and this Durangito delima needs to R.I.P.!

    • Albert, you obviously don’t care that the city has lied since 1998. Dr. Grossman has been fighting this since day 1. Since his unethical release from the Historic Commission he’s been able to speak his mind more freely. Want me to go over the lies the city has used? 1998, a city plan says this area should be a historic district; nothing is done. 2006, the Paso Del Norte Group, a secret organization of 300+ rich landowners want to destroy Segundo Barrio AND Durangito. They want upscale shopping in Segundo and a soccer arena in Durangito, for the rich wife of a member of the PDNG who happens to own a Mexican semi-pro soccer team. 2012, the city sets up a quality of life bond issue with only three bonds. They lump together bond issues instead of having voters vote each individual bond. The city also passed an ordinance (under the table) to put the arena downtown. They don’t tell anyone that downtown ball parks and arenas are poison for downtown business. 2014, they lie about having the ball park downtown. PCL doesn’t really care where it goes. The city gives MountainStar a sweetheart deal, destroy city hall, pay more than the going price for the Times Building and move into 6 other buildings also. This means we go from ONE non taxable structure to EIGHT! Which means that your taxes go up. In 2015, the city had a chance to have a survey of 1000 buildings downtown half paid for. They were all for it until it came time to vote then it was voted down 8-0. The county later took up the responsibility to pay for the survey but the city is hurrying up the arena project to get it started before the survey starts. 2016, the city announces the site is Durangito TWO WEEKS AFTER Paul Foster buys one of the tenements in the footprint of the arena. The City Attorney announces there ARE NO historic buildings in the area, contradicting the 1998 report The city also said that the arena had to be downtown for businesses to collect $25 million from the state. This is later proven to be a lie, the CONVENTION CENTER has to be within a thousand feet of the hotels. There are private talks during the period October 2016 to today between members of city council and hotel owners, which is unethical at the minimum. City council votes when the representative for that district isn’t present. It was planned since Mayor Leeser would have had to vote to break a tie. As far as Max Grossman, Bernie Sargent, and other members of the Historic Commission who were not reinstated, I might remind you they made a mistake. A mistake the County Judge, County Attorney, AND the County Administrator all admitted happened because they did not train the Commissioners. Bernie Sargent had worked 17 years on that commission, Dr. Grossman for 8 years. They had done so well that the El Paso Historical Commission has been named one of the top 3 in the state for at least 5 years running. When the list of incoming commissioners was read off, their names, and the names of 3 others were not on the list. The County Commissioners Court, didn’t even have the common courtesy of thanking them for their service. The county has packed the Commission with sycophants who are willing to do what the County Commissioners say without regard to their real job. Are these the people you’re defending? Shame on you.

  2. As a reminder that this Durangito barrio is nothing more than an extension of the Segundo Barrio resulting it being the armpit of downtown El Paso that surely must go.There are always plenty of old El Paso pictures to look up in the Texas historical archives,so adding these new Union Plaza photos of what the area use to look like before the new downtown arena was built. Better yet you can now post photos on the digi wall behind the museum so Durangito will live on forever in the imagination of historians.

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