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Home | Tag Archives: City Council

Tag Archives: City Council

Discussion for new Downtown memorial for El Paso’s own ‘Men of Company E’ set for next week

During next week’s City Council meeting (May 14th) council members are scheduled to consider a new memorial honoring the Men of Company E.

The memorial, which is proposed for the Downtown Arts District, will be a companion piece to the original that is located at the Acosta Sports Center, 4321 Delta.

“The Men of Company E is a story of heroism the people of El Paso need to know about. Having a memorial located within Downtown El Paso will help raise the profile of these men and honor their contributions and sacrifices during World War II,” said Dan Olivas, Advocacy Chair for Community en Acción.

The original Men of Company E Memorial by El Paso artist Julio Sanchez de Alba has been located at the World War II Veterans of Company E Park at 4321 Delta since its dedication in 2008.

This memorial is a bronze relief monument honoring the a group of young Mexican-American soldiers from the City of El Paso who were sent to southern Italy on a tragic mission to cross the Rapido River on the night of January 21, 1944.

Many of the Men of Company  E, 141st Infantry, 36th Division, whom many now refer to as the Fallen Sons of El Paso, were killed in the attempt to cross a waterway saturated with barbed wire, mines, and artillery.

For years, many community members felt the original piece’s location cut it off from the ability to reach more people. Community en Acción worked with the Museums and Cultural Affairs Department to site the companion memorial downtown in a location that would provide opportunities to tell the story of these men.

“During last budget process, Council directed staff to find funding to create a companion piece honoring the Men of Company E in a high-profile, high traffic location that will allow more people to learn about their heroism,” said Tracey Jerome, Managing Director, Museums and Cultural Affairs, Libraries and Tourism.

The Downtown Arts District currently draws 2.2 million El Pasoans and visitors annually and the site will present unique opportunities for programmatic connections with multiple sites.

Additionally, the close proximity of the Mexican American Cultural Center will provide additional programming opportunities to educate about the service of these brave El Pasoans.

City Council Candidate Charged with Family Violence

A candidate for City Council District 5  was arrested on suspicion of family violence after a confrontation with his girlfriend while campaigning with their infant child in late August.

According to El Paso County Jail records, Kizito Ekechukwu was arrested by El Paso Police on Sunday, August 26 and posted a $2,500 bond the following day for an Assault/Family Violence charge.

The incident allegedly occurred after Ekechukwu and his girlfriend were passing out campaign flyers to residents of the Santa Teresa Nursing home located at 10350 Montana Avenue on August 26.

The couple, along with their 10-month old child, left the nursing home heading east on Montana when their baby allegedly began kicking campaign signs in the backseat of their car.

The victim told police that she asked Ekechukwu if he would move the signs since he was sitting in the back seat with the child. She told police Ekechukwu said “I’m not moving anything, you move it,” despite the fact that she was driving at the time. She allegedly told police that she reached around toward the back seat while driving in an attempt to move the sign and it landed near Ekechukwu’s feet.

The affidavit claims that Ekechukwu later reached forward and slapped her with an open hand while driving eastbound on Montana. She claims he called her a “stupid [expletive].”

Police were called when the alleged victim pulled the car over along Montana. She advised police that Ekechukwu asked her not to contact police, but she was “tired of being assaulted by Ekechukwu, who has assaulted her on previous occasions by has never called police to report the incidents.”

In an interview late Tuesday night with local political blogger Jaime Abeytia with the Lion Star Blog, Ekechukwu stated that he intended to continue his campaign to take over the seat of outgoing City Council Representative Dr. Michel Noe.

Ekechukwu is running in a crowded field of five candidates, including John B. Hogan, Benjamin Miranda, Jason Osborne, and Isabel Salcido to replace Noe, who has reached his term limit on Council.

Decision day for the large swath of East El Paso along with City Council elections for District 1, 6, and 8 will be held on General Election Day, November 6.

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

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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