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Home | Tag Archives: City Council

Tag Archives: City Council

Council Approves Public-Private Partnership to Bolster Children’s Museum Project

On Monday, City Council approved a public-private partnership providing the City with the ability to potentially secure 100 percent of its investment in a children’s museum by having the museum’s nonprofit pay for two-thirds of the museum’s annual operating costs.

According to the city, the arrangement is an atypical approach, which pays 100 percent of operating expenses for its other museums.

“The project’s original budget of $19.25 million was underfunded and not sufficient to provide even a very basic, scaled-back museum,” said Sam Rodriguez, Capital Improvement Department Director. “This model ensures better stewardship of public dollars as it leverages private dollars to deliver a truly quality project, and it establishes a limit for the City’s contribution toward construction of the children’s museum.”

Over a 20-year period, a savings of $1.2 million annually in operating costs could equate to more than $20 million in savings for the City.

Council’s action taken to realize the community’s vision of developing a world-class children’s museum included increasing its investment in the project beyond its original budget by matching one dollar for every one dollar raised privately.

The partnership terms were approved in response to private-sector stakeholders pledging to double their contribution to $20 million for this signature bond project overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2012.

The total cost for design, construction, and exhibits is approximately $60 million.

With the increase, the City will cap its financial contribution to the project at $39.5 million. To manage this project, the City approved the creation of a Local Government Corporation. City Council will serve as the board for the corporation and manage the construction of the museum.

This is  not the first time the City has used an LGC to complete a project, as they undertook a similar route during the construction of the baseball park.

“The City of El Paso is committed to building a world-class children’s museum, and this public-private partnership provides the best model to ensure the long-term financial success of this endeavor,” said Tracey Jerome, Director of the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department.

Last August, Gyroscope Inc., an award winning, Oakland, California based design firm presented the Museum’s master plan that provided the framework for the architectural designs and incorporated public feedback seeking more than a traditional museum and a need for spaces and programming to engage multi-generational families.

“We greatly appreciate the tremendous support we have received from elected officials, City staff, and the effective leadership of our champions in the private sector,” said Dr. Paul Kortenaar, Founding Director, El Paso Children’s Museum.  “As a stand-alone non-profit organization the El Paso Children’s Museum will thrive under this public-private partnership with the City of El Paso.  We look forward to finalizing the design work needed to build this unprecedented project for our entire community.”

The museum will be located at 201 West Main, between the El Paso Museum of History and the El Paso Museum of Art, which are both within the Downtown Arts District.

According to city officials, the area attracts more than 1.5 million visitors per year.

Video: Your City in 5 – Week ending February 17th

In this edition, Rick Isaias has information on a work session by Mayor and Council and City Manager and staff that discussed the progress of the City since the introduction of the 2015 Strategic Plan.

There is also information on the Parks and Recreation Department’s Senior Games as well as two contests sponsored by the Environmental Services Department. The importance of having a working smoke alarm is also stressed by the El Paso Fire Department.

This edition also takes a look at the a Valentine’s Day coronation and dance recently held at a City senior center.

Information on these stories and other resources are available at www.elpasotexas.gov

Council Votes Down Another Site Analysis for Downtown Arena

City Council voted not to conduct a site analysis to identify potential locations for the Multipurpose Cultural and Performing Arts Center (MPC) within the convention site or within 1,000 feet of the convention center’s footprint.

Council’s vote included having the City host public meetings to raise community awareness about the project’s history, including highlighting studies that indicated the best location for the facility.

For nearly 20 years, the studies conducted by the City have recommended a downtown multipurpose center, or arena, as a catalyst for economic development and attracting quality events and entertainment.

Studies conducted in 2001 and 2006 identified the Union Plaza area as the preferred site for a multipurpose center. In 2012, Plan El Paso identified the Union Plaza area as a location that should be considered for a multipurpose center. A 2015 study reinforced finding by the 2001 and 2006 studies by identifying the Union Plaza area as the most favorable site for the MPC.

As part of the City’s extensive due diligence process with this project, it remains in contact with property owners within the MPC footprint in an effort to dispel or affirm allegations that they are not interested in selling their properties.

The MPC is a signature project approved by voters as part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bond program.

City Approves Shadow Mountain Tower for West El Paso

The Meyers Group will move forward with Shadow Mountain Tower, a high-quality, mixed-use project which will be built on a vacant lot on Shadow Mountain Drive in West El Paso.

On Tuesday, City Council unanimously approved a rezoning request allowing the project to move forward based on the project’s ability to grow the commercial tax base and reduce the residential tax burden for El Pasoans.

“We are thankful to the City Council for their decision which allows this transformational project to move forward,” said Josh Meyers, vice-president of the Meyers Group. “We fully respect the community’s concerns and the Council’s need to take extra time to make this important decision.”

El Paso City Council approved a rezoning request from Commerical to General Mixed Use. The old zoning would have allowed commercial development including a self-service car wash, concrete mixing plant, or minor motor vehicle repair facility. Instead, with this new zoning designation, the Meyers Group will move forward with plan to build a mixed-use high-rise including a retail, apartments, and a luxury hotel.

“We have been listening closely to the public comment we’ve heard over the past several weeks,” Myers said. “We are confidence that this project will be a good neighbor that will make El Pasoans proud.

The City Council’s decision follows months of public feedback, many of them related to traffic in West El Paso.

“As you heard members of the City Council articulate, many of the construction projects which are presently causing congestion on the Westside will be completed when this project opens,” Meyers said. “Additionally, this project helps El Pasoans realize the investments they have made in Quality of Life, transit, and transportation infrastructure.”

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