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Home | Tag Archives: city of el paso

Tag Archives: city of el paso

UTEP, City sign agreement to allow employees to assist with Coronavirus Testing

A new agreement between The University of Texas at El Paso and the City of El Paso will enable UTEP faculty and staff to assist the city’s Department of Public Health in identifying cases of the novel coronavirus.

The El Paso City Council approved the 12-month interlocal agreement on March 31, 2020. Per the agreement, the city will reimburse UTEP up to $200,000 for services and equipment.

“UTEP has always worked with our community to improve health,” said UTEP President Heather Wilson. “We teach Clinical Laboratory Science at UTEP. In fact, I understand that most of the employees at the city lab are UTEP alumni. Our faculty members are ready to help their former students and use their skills to reduce the spread of coronavirus in the community.” ​

Five of the public health department’s laboratory staff are graduates of UTEP’s Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) program.

According to the agreement, UTEP faculty or staff who are trained in nucleic acid extraction and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods, will help the public health department’s laboratory staff to analyze patient samples for COVID-19. They include Lorraine Torres, Ed.D.; Delfina Dominguez, Ph.D.; Elizabeth Camacho; and Laurencia Almeida in UTEP’s CLS program; and Jonathon Mohl, Ph.D., mathematical sciences research assistant professor, and Miguel A. Beltran, biological sciences Ph.D. student.

As of March 30, public health officials reported 46 COVID-19 cases in El Paso County. Three of those cases are UTEP employees and one is a UTEP student.

UTEP employees will help to analyze specimens submitted to the public health department by health care providers who suspect a patient has been infected with the coronavirus. Providers are asked to follow the department’s step-by-step protocol for COVID-19 testing and rule out other sources of illness before contacting the Department of Public Health Epidemiology Program. As part of the process, health care providers will collect a nasal and throat swab, which will then be sent to the public health department for testing.

Once at the lab, scientists will extract RNA, a nucleic acid in cells, from the swabs, which will then be processed through a procedure called PCR to determine if the sample is positive or negative for COVID-19. After the samples have been analyzed, the results will be sent to the health care provider to notify the patient. Positive results will trigger an epidemiological investigation by the Department of Public Health.

“UTEP has scientists with training and expertise in several key areas and can serve as an important resource to the city during this very challenging time,” said College of Health Sciences Dean Shafik Dharamsi, Ph.D.

Torres, CLS program director and a certified medical technologist, is one of four CLS faculty members who will assist with the public health department’s COVID-19 testing.

She joined the UTEP faculty in 1985 after she graduated from the University’s medical technology (now clinical laboratory science) program.

“As clinical laboratory scientists, we have the knowledge and background to support the City of El Paso’s efforts to address the demand for coronavirus testing during this critical time,” said Torres, who holds both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biology from UTEP and a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Phoenix. “Seventy percent of the medical decisions that physicians make are based on the laboratory test data that clinical and medical laboratory scientists provide. By contributing our knowledge and skills, we are confident that we can help the city navigate through this public health crisis.”

Torres said the agreement also is an example of the CLS program’s longstanding relationship with the city’s public health department, which offers internships to approximately six CLS students per semester. The rotation is two weeks long.

UTEP faculty will be required to follow the health department’s policies and standards of privacy. They will be expected to work four 10-hour shifts from Sunday to Wednesday or Wednesday to Saturday.

Mohl previously worked as a microbiologist at the public health department, where he was involved in testing for the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009.

“There are two reasons I think helping the health department is important for me,” Mohl said. “The first is that I went through what the city’s lab members have gone through, and with the size of the current COVID-19 pandemic, I don’t want the lab members to suffer by having to do it by themselves. I have been in their shoes and want to help. Secondly, I think it is a way for me to give back to the city that I live in. It’s a way for UTEP and myself to help El Paso get a sense of how widespread COVID-19 is here so that the people can make informed decisions and have confidence in the city leaders as we all deal with the pandemic.”

Author: Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications

Texan by Nature Announces 2020 Conservation Wranglers; Paso del Norte Trail honored

On Wednesday morning, officials with Texan by Nature (TxN), a Texas-led conservation non-profit, announced the selection of the 2020 Conservation Wranglers – including the new Paso del Norte Trail in El Paso.

“Every year, Texan by Nature shines a light on conservation stewards and their efforts to take care of the state I’m proud to call home,” shared former First Lady and Founder of Texan by Nature, Mrs. Laura Bush. “The Conservation Wrangler program proves that collaborative partnerships in conservation yield great benefits for Texas and its people. Congratulations to the six 2020 Conservation Wranglers and thank you for the terrific example you’ve set for the rest of us.”

The organization’s Conservation Wrangler program recognizes six innovative conservation projects across the state of Texas for their science-based and results driven approach to conservation along with their ability to positively impact people, prosperity, and natural resources.

The 2020 Conservation Wranglers will work with the Texan by Nature team, receiving 12-18 months of dedicated program support and tailored resources.

“Representing every corner of Texas, the pool of Conservation Wrangler applications this year was beyond impressive,” said Joni Carswell, CEO and President of TxN. “It is through invaluable conservation initiatives like these that our Conservation Wrangler program creates measurable and meaningful impact. While 2020 is vastly different than we imagined even a month ago, our work continues as we are inspired by our Conservation Partners, these projects, and the need for nature as a fundamental piece of our health. We look forward to sharing Conservation Wrangler learnings, best practices, and opportunities to scale conservation efforts in even BIGGER and BOLDER ways in 2020 and beyond.”

Texan by Nature will recognize the 2020 Conservation Wranglers on October 27, 2020, in Dallas at the George W. Bush Presidential Center.

This diverse set of projects impacts land, water, habitat, and more, spanning all 254 counties and all 12 ecological regions of the Lone Star State.

The six selected 2020 Conservation Wranglers include:

Paso del Norte Trail

Accessible trails connect people to nature, positively affecting their health and promoting a conservation mindset. The Paso del Norte Trail will provide greater opportunities for walking, hiking, and biking for users of all abilities to connect in the ecologically and culturally diverse border region of Texas.

This project is a community-driven, collaborative effort to develop a county-wide trail in El Paso County. The goal of Paso del Norte is to create a regionally significant landmark that promotes active transportation, preserves the history and culture of the region, highlights the Rio Grande river, supports economic development and ecotourism, provides educational and volunteer opportunities, and makes healthy living the easy choice for the unique, binational community of El Paso.

The roughly 68–mile span of the Paso del Norte (PDN) Trail is divided into five distinct districts, each broadly defined by their unique geographical, historical, and cultural context, as well as various amenities and attractions that help define them.

Partners for this project include the Paso del Norte Health Foundation, City of El Paso, County of El Paso, El Paso County Water Improvement District #1, El Paso Water, Creosote Collaborative, Sites Southwest, and Alta Planning & Design.

Respect Big Bend

Energy development in Far West Texas is accelerating. All forms of energy – oil, gas, wind and solar alike – are central to the Texas economy. To balance energy development with the need to conserve West Texas’ unique cultural and natural resources, the Respect Big Bend (RBB) Coalition was formed to bring together government, business, philanthropy, communities, landowners, and industry leaders in a regional planning process focused on responsible energy development. The Coalition was established with primary support from the Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation and additional support from the Permian Basin Area Foundation, Meadows Foundation, and Still Water Foundation. Coalition partners include: Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University, Texas Agricultural Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy, and the Bureau of Economic Geology at UT – Austin, and several others. The goals of RBB are to educate, inform, and provide resources to all stakeholders, develop a robust conservation plan, and garner support and acceptance of the plan.

Trinity Park Conservancy – Trinity River Conservation Corps

The Trinity River is the longest fully-contained river in the state of Texas, flowing through 18,000 square miles of watershed and five major ecoregions, supplying tens of millions of Texans with a reliable water source. Trinity Park Conservancy and Groundwork Dallas have partnered to develop a youth employment program focused on the stewardship of the Trinity River: Trinity River Conservation Corps.

The Corps program aims to enhance conservation efforts along the Trinity River Corridor, while providing education, service, and leadership opportunities to the next generation, with a focus on engaging youth from historically marginalized areas. The Corps will focus on projects such as stewardship of wetlands along the Trinity River that serve to mitigate flooding, along with projects in Harold Simmons Park, the Elm Fork, and the Great Trinity Forest.

Engagement of the community, business, and conservation partners through the Corps will help to develop a cultural model of stewardship throughout the Trinity River Corridor.

Texas Brigades

As families become more urban and less connected to our natural resources, conservation organizations must evolve and adapt to ensure they connect with younger generations on critical conservation issues. With a vision of creating “conservation leaders in every community,” Texas Brigades educates and empowers youth with leadership skills and knowledge in wildlife, fisheries, and land stewardship to become conservation ambassadors for a sustained natural resource legacy.

As Texas Brigades prepare to build on their legacy and plan for the future, organizational leadership is working on strategic planning, volunteer stewardship, and long-term data collection to ensure their programs meet the needs of Texas’s changing demographics.

Texas Brigades molds over 300 youth leaders each year with their Summer Camps and other programs, where participants have come from over 1,000 communities across Texas. Participants leave with a connection to the land, informed and ready to make conservation a life-long passion.

Exploration Green Conservancy

Every year, the Texas Gulf Coast is faced with damaging storm systems, costing Texas communities billions of dollars in repairs. Once completed, Exploration Green will provide stormwater detention for 500 million gallons of water, protecting over 2,000 nearby homes from seasonal flooding.

Exploration Green is a recreation area and nature preserve housed in a stormwater detention area in southeast Houston. This once defunct neighborhood golf course turned conservation area has plans to include native grasses, 5,000 native trees, 150,000 wetland plants, 40 acres of lakes, and six miles of high-quality trails for area residents.

Early phases of the project saved over 150 homes from flooding during Hurricane Harvey and completely mitigated flooding during 2019 Tropical Storm Imelda. In addition to stormwater relief, the conservation area improves water quality, provides carbon sequestration, and has doubled plant and bird diversity.

Exploration Green also brings in residents of all ages and economic status to utilize trails and attend weekly community events. The project is led by two primary partners, Clear Lake City Water Authority and Exploration Green Conservancy, and is supported by 30 additional partners from local businesses to conservation organizations.

Exploration Green is embraced by the community with over 800 volunteers helping the project.

Texas Children in Nature

Children who spend time in nature are healthier, happier and smarter. In 2010 the Texas Children in Nature Network (TCiN) was created to address the growing concern of the lack of nature in children’s lives. TCiN achieves its mission of connecting children with nature through regional collaboratives across the state – working with over 500 local and state partners in the health, education, community development and conservation fields.

TCiN serves as a statewide networking hub, participating in various statewide leadership teams, providing resources to encourage children and families to spend time in nature, and addressing pressing issues such as equity and access to the outdoors, community development and public health policy.

In 2020 TCiN will be celebrating its 10thanniversary with a statewide summit in December – Inspiring the Next Ten Years, during which TCiN will also be unveiling a new strategic plan.

The Texan by Nature 2020 Conservation Wranglers were selected, in part, based on the following criteria:

  • Texan-led conservation initiative
  • Benefits community by providing tangible returns for people, prosperity, and natural resources
  • Reaches new and diverse audiences
  • Science-based
  • Measurable process and conservation outcomes
  • Partnership between community, business, individuals, and conservation organizations

All will receive 12-18 months of tailored support and resources including:

  • Connections to technical expertise and industry support
  • Recognition and participation in annual Conservation Wrangler Summit and Celebration
  • Strategic planning, program evaluation, and assistance with stakeholder engagement
  • Amplification and marketing support for each individual initiative
  • Professional produced content and collateral cross-promotion via TxN channels including social media, newsletters, and website

Collective 2019 Texan by Nature Conservation Wrangler Program Highlights:

  • People: TxN CW Projects impacted Texans across 54 counties (total of 111 since 2018)
  • Prosperity: $163.7 million in economic benefit
  • Natural Resources (Acreage): 14.6 million acres =8.5% of Texas’s 171.9 million acres
  • Natural Resources (Other): 1.2 million gallons of water conserved (El Paso Water), 4.5 million ducks (TPWP), 130 miles of contiguous river trail (Trinity Coalition), 240,000 Red Snapper (RGV Reef), 2,000ft of linear shoreline (Oyster Recycling), at least 450+ grassland bird species (GRIP)

Last year’s Conservation Wranglers included the El Paso Water – Certified Water Partner ProgramGalveston Bay Foundation – Oyster Shell RecyclingFriends of Rio Grande Valley ReefOaks and Prairies Joint Venture – Grassland Restoration Incentive ProgramDucks Unlimited – Texas Prairie Wetlands Project, and the Trinity Coalition – Trinity River Paddling Trail.

Increasing conservation investment across Texas and working to drive and replicate innovation, Texan by Nature connects conservation partners to the resources they need to achieve greater impact. For more information on TxN partnerships and programs, or to learn how to get involved, please visit www.texanbynature.org.

City of El Paso, Sun Metro awarded $28.22 million Federal Transportation Grant

On Friday, officials with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced a $28.22 million grant award for the City of El Paso’s Montana Rapid Transit System Corridor Project.

“I am so pleased to share that El Paso is the recipient of a major federal funding award,” Mayor Dee Margo said. “This multi-million dollar FTA grant will help us further modernize our region’s public transit system by helping to pay for the development of a Bus Rapid Transit system that connects the far East Side to downtown.”

The project, better known as the Montana Brio, will build a 16.8-mile bus rapid transit line that will run primarily on Montana Avenue. It will also provide convenient access to many other destinations including the El Paso Airport, the Five Points neighborhood, and the future Far East Side Transfer Center.

The total project cost is $49.2 million, and it is funded through a combination of federal, state and city funds.

Expanding Sun Metro’s Brio service to four corridors with the addition of the Montana Brio is an essential part of the City’s Strategic Plan to enhance its comprehensive transportation system.

The Dyer and Alameda Brio services became operational last year, and the Mesa Brio in 2014.

“These funds will be used to expand the El Paso transit system and better connect El Pasoans from all corners of the city,” U.S. Senator John Cornyn said. “Quality transportation services are vital for boosting local economic growth, and I commend the Trump Administration, Mayor Dee Margo, and other leaders in El Paso who worked to secure this funding.”

This major investment in public transit will allow residents and visitors to experience an improved transit service that is faster and more reliable, similar to those offered in larger cities with light rail transit systems.

Features of the Montana Brio include:

–       A stand-alone El Paso International Airport station

–       Branded buses and shelters

–       Pre-paid automatic ticket vending machines

–       Sidewalk improvements with landscaping and pedestrian lighting

–       Benches, leaning rails and bike racks

The federal grant was made possible through the FTA’s 2016 Section 5309 Capital Investment Grant Small Starts fund.

Click here for more information about Sun Metro’s Brio.

El Paso hosts 2020 All Mexico-U.S. Sister Cities Summit this week

The All Mexico-U.S. Sister Cities Summit, which connects mayors, municipal officials, business leaders, academics, and civic leaders from El Paso and Juárez, will take place February 26 through February 28.

This fourth in a series of bi-national summits is designed to strengthen Sister City relationships. “This gathering will showcase the importance of binational friendship and collaboration between Mexico and the United States and will reinforce the importance of community-to-community relations that inform, enrich, and strengthen bilateral dialogue,” said Sister Cities International (SCI) President and CEO, Leroy Allala.

Leaders and attendees will take part on eight different panels that will discuss post-NAFTA effects, women entrepreneurship, technology, journalism, education and workforce among other topics. The Summit will host informative sessions with over 30 industry leaders designed for attendees to socialize, network, and learn.

Speakers from UTEP, NMSU, the Dallas Cowboys, The Hunt Institute, and The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce among others will participate in the discussion, including the Texas Secretary of State, Ruth Hughs.

“It is imperative that we shift the conversation to the positives of our relationship at the sub-national level. The citizens of the United States and Mexico have strong and longstanding connections that go beyond politics,” said City Representative Peter Svarzbein, SCI Board member. “Juárez and El Paso are symbiotic communities and strive to grow together.”

This unique collaboration between Mexican and U.S. municipal governments, Sister Cities International, and citizen diplomats will stimulate dialogue that will accentuate and encourage the benefits of a strong and lasting U.S.-Mexico relationship.

The Summit will take leaders and attendees on private tours in Ciudad Juárez and El Paso that showcase and highlight the strengths of our binational community.

On March 27, 2018, El Paso and Ciudad Juárez leaders signed a Sister Cities agreement, reaffirming their commitment to work together to promote commerce, tourism, and industry throughout the region.

To register and learn more about the All Mexico-U.S. Sister Cities Summit, click here.

Technology Hub, Pioneers 21’s ‘Bridge Accelerator 2020’ Open for Enrollment

Officials with Technology Hub and Pioneers 21, in partnership with Microsoft, announced the launch the second edition of The Bridge Accelerator – Binational Supplier Development Program.

“We are proud to announce the second edition of Bridge Accelerator,” said Ricardo Mora of The Bridge Organizing Committee. “We appreciate the support of Microsoft, Transtelco, Tecma Group, Chihuahua’s Economic Development Agency through its Regional Innovation and Economic Development Center, City of El Paso,  Desarrollo Económico de Ciudad Juárez A.C. and the business community. In May 2019, this program attracted $250,000 in venture capital opportunities and created 33 new jobs in the borderplex region. We encourage business to get involved to allow for more growth.”

Organizers added that the pilot of the Bridge Accelerator resulted in 52 purchase orders totaling approximately $1,500,000 and 32 new purchase orders.

Local businesses who have incorporated work on both sides of the United States and Mexico border for at least two years, have a relationship with large manufacturing companies and maquiladoras and are able to attend program sessions on either side of the border are eligible to apply.

According to organizers, Bridge Accelerator 2020 is a 12-week training program designed for existing companies from El Paso and Ciudad Juárez looking to grow and innovate their business practices. The 12-week training program includes a business model canvas applied to manufacturing suppliers, workshops, working groups, panels and networking events.

“After completion of program, businesses will leave with the understanding of unique requirements of the manufacturing industry and binational business culture, identify the relationship between innovation and the supply chain, identify models and intellectual property connection, market strategies and funding,” officials shared via an emailed news release.

Businesses in the Paso del Norte region which service the manufacturing industry on the Mexico-U.S. border are encouraged to apply no later than Wednesday, January 22, 2020. (Application form)

City of El Paso Capital Improvement Program offers sneak preview of water parks

Via a social media post, officials with the City of El Paso’s Capital Improvement Program gave residents a sneak peak of the water parks now under construction around the city.

One of the featured photos is of the much-anticipated wave rider machine that is currently under construction at the Oasis water park.

Next Summer, the City will open four Neighborhood Water Parks, which are resort-style aquatic destinations designed – as city officials share –  “to delight thrill-seekers, lap swimmers and sunbathers.”

Each water park will evoke a unique themed aesthetic inspired by community input. Water attractions will range from spiraling water slides to coasting lazy rivers to inviting leisure pools.

All facilities are currently under construction and will include: Slides, a leisure pool, a lap pool, a lazy river, climbing wall, interactive water playground, cabanas, lounge chairs, food concessions, outdoor speaker and lighting system.

If you want to learn more about these projects, click here.  Photos courtesy City of El Paso Capital Improvement Program/Facebook

Residents’ input needed for Phase Two of Playa Drain Trail

The Playa Drain Trail, a partnership of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (Health Foundation), City of El Paso and El Paso Water, is set to expand once again – and the public is invited to provide input.

The first phase of the Playa Drain Trail from Ascarate Park to Riverside Park was completed in 2018. The City of El Paso completed the segment from Ysleta High School to Capistrano Park earlier this year.

Next week, a public meeting is scheduled to obtain information and provide input on the design of the Playa Drain Trail Phase 2 from Riverside High School to Ysleta High School.

The Health Foundation is leading the design of the trail from Riverside High School to Ysleta High School with funding support from the Health Foundation and Marathon Foundation.

Completion of this segment of the trail will result in a continuous 8.4-mile trail from Ascarate Park to Capistrano Park.

The Playa Drain Trail has several amenities such as seating and shade structures, water fountains, sunscreen stations, bicycle repair stations, exercise stations and artwork to make active living the easy choice for residents in the region and an alternative to driving for near-by residents.

Funding for the construction of the design from Whittier Drive to Elvin Way has been secured by the City of El Paso with construction to begin in 2021.

For more information on the Playa Drain Trail, click here.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019
6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
Ysleta High School – Early College Building, Room 515  |   8600 Alameda

City to hold public meetings on 2019 Public Safety Bond ahead of November 5th election

Officials with the City of El Paso announced Tuesday a series of public meeting where they will be presenting information on the proposed 2019 Public Safety Bond scheduled to be on the November 5, 2019 ballot.

Via a news release, officials said the proposed bond is the “City’s plan to use voter approved bonds to pay for public improvements for the Police and Fire Departments, including vehicles and equipment.”

If approved by the voters, the proposed projects would be funded by the City issuing general obligation bonds. The bonds are a debt that the City would pay back over time from taxpayer dollars.

For more information on the 2019 Public Safety Bond, visit elpasobonds2019.com.

The 2019 Public Safety Bond community presentation schedule is as follows:

When:    5:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24

Where:   Westside Regional Command,  4801 Osborne

 

When:    6 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 24

Where:   Northeast Regional Command, 9600 Dyer

 

When:    11 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8

Where:   Mission Valley Regional Command, 9011 Escobar

 

When:    6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8

Where:   Pebble Hills Regional Command,  10780 Pebble Hills

 

When:    11 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 17

Where:   El Paso Police Department Headquarters,  911 Raynor

 

When:    6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 17

Where:   El Paso Police Department Headquarters,  911 Raynor

 

City staff will also participate in a number of different community events and district meetings to provide bond information:

What:     Neighborhood Leadership Summit

When:    10:45 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 14

Where:   Fort Bliss Centennial;    11199 Sergeant Churchill

 

What:     District 7 Community Meeting

When:    6 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 25

Where:   Municipal Service Center (MSC),   7968 San Paulo

 

What:     District 7 Community Meeting

When:    6:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26

Where:   Park University, 1330 Adabel

 

What:     District 3 Community Meeting

When:    8 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 2

Where:   Village Inn, 7144 Gateway Blvd. E.

 

What:     District 5 Community Meeting

When:    6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 9

Where:   Esperanza Acosta Library, 12480 Pebble Hills

 

What:     District 2 Community Meeting

When:    5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16

Where:   Safety & Health Outreach Center    5415 Trowbridge

 

What:     District 4 Community Meeting

When:    6 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 16

Where:   Metro 31, 9348 Dyer (entrance off of Diana)

 

What:     District 6 Community Meeting

When:    6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 24

Where:   Carnitas Queretaro, 1451 N. Zaragoza

 

City receives $50k grant from Citi Foundation

The Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing Department is proud to announce being selected as one of the ten cities participating in the sixth-cohort of the City Accelerator initiative on Inclusive Procurement by the Citi Foundation and Living Cities.

“As El Paso’s economy continues to thrive, ensuring an open and inclusive process for business owners seeking to find, bid on, and successfully compete for city contracts is at the forefront,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo.

“The work we will conduct with the Citi Foundation, Living Cities, and Griffith & Strong will provide us with an opportunity to learn nationwide best practices, and create lasting relationships with other city governments for cross-sector partnerships.”

The City will be awarded a $50,000 grant to provide coaching, technical assistance, and other resources through community partners to aid in the growth and development of veteran, woman, and minority owned businesses.

“The goal is to make local businesses feel included and understand the requirements in the bidding process so they are more competitive and win contracting opportunities that will allow them to become more sustainable,” city officials shared via a news release, “These initiatives align with the Purchasing and Strategic Sourcing Department’s mission of providing an open, fair, transparent, economically competitive and respectful procurement process.”

As part of the first grant received in 2018, El Paso has integrated local small and minority business resources into a singular effort branded Accelerate EP and for the first time formalized relationships with organizations the serve its local businesses of color.

To date, this is the second grant the City of El Paso receives from the Citi Foundation and Living Cities.

City holds Community Development Week Kick Off Event

Officials with the City of El Paso and dignitaries are inviting the public out for the kick-off event for Community Development Week.

The Department of Community and Human Development (DCHD) and District 1, City Representative Peter Svarzbein invites the public to kick-off of National Community Development (CD) Week, by attending a rededication and neighborhood block party at Borderland Park.

This event will highlight the Borderland Park improvements made possible with over $328,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

The upgrades to the park allows for ADA accessibility, more sitting areas, solar compacting trash receptacle, installation of pet waste bag dispensers, bike rack, trees, metal shelter with lights to cover the playground, swing sets with rock wall enclosure, engineered wood fiber fall surface, resurfacing of basketball court, modification of irrigation stem and more.

“Communities use CDBG to respond to current and emerging community development needs, including the creation of jobs, development of affordable housing, improvement of existing house stock, the delivery of vital services, and the development of essential infrastructure improvements,” city officials shared via an emailed release.  “Both of these programs have been successful because of the support of partner agencies, community volunteers, neighborhood associations and private sector partners.”

During the celebration, guests will enjoy free food, beverages and entertainment. The event is free and open to the public.

Since 1975, the City of El Paso has provided over $85 million in HOME Program funding to create safe, affordable housing opportunities and over $384 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to provide essential public services, economic opportunities, street and drainage improvements, public facility and infrastructure improvements and other quality of life improvements to low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

WHO:           City of El Paso Community+ Human Development

WHAT:         Borderland Park Rededication + Neighborhood Block Party

WHEN:         4 p.m. to 6 p.m., April 22

WHERE:       Borderland Park, 6327 Modesta St.

Project Vida Receives $135K for Micro-Business Economic Development

Thanks to the participation of several local businesses, foundations and government, Project Vida‘s Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) has been funded to the tune of $135,000.

GECU, El Paso Electric, WestStar Bank, Hunt Family Foundation, United Way of El Paso County and the City of El Paso all contributed a to Project Vida’s MTAP – the grassroots asset-building economic development project.

Awards include El Paso Electric $10,000; GECU $10,000; WestStar Bank $5,000; Hunt Family Foundation $5,000; United Way $15,333; and the City of El Paso $90,000 from a Community Development Block Grant.

“MTAP engages marginal low- and moderate-income micro-business owners with business and financial literacy, management skill-building, and pathways to job retention and job creation,” Project Vida officials shared via a Friday morning news release.

MTAP transfers the community health worker/promotora model of outreach and trust-building to a business model of financial stability, asset-building, entry into the mainstream economy and growth toward small business status.

From 2013 to 2018, MTAP enrolled nearly 750 qualifying microenterprise owners in the program helping them retain 561 jobs and create 471 new jobs.

For more information on Project Vida or the Microenterprise Technical Assistance Program, contact Bill Schlesinger at (915) 533-7057, ext. 207, or w.schlesinger@pvida.net

Quality Texas Foundation Honors City of El Paso with Statewide Excellence Award

The City of El Paso has earned the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE), from the Quality Texas Foundation (QTF), which recognizes organizations for sustained performance excellence across seven key categories.

“The Texas Award for Performance Excellence affirms that El Paso is one of the top performing, most efficient organizations in Texas, and among the most effective in the nation,” said Mayor Dee Margo. “The award recognition demonstrates our City’s performance standards are among the most rigorous in the public sector.”

The award, which is the statewide version of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence—singles out the City of El Paso as a state role model for working to pursue excellence by focusing on continuous improvement, engaging the workforce and optimizing our resources.

“This has been a remarkable journey that is particularly noteworthy because it is an opportunity to showcase El Paso to the rest of the state and tell the true El Paso story,” said City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “The City of El Paso has a quality workforce that produces high octane results by saving over $50 million in the last 4 years and bringing in over 100 million of revenue.”

TAPE recipients are selected based on performance excellence criteria used at the national level for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The criteria include seven main categories: leadership; strategic planning; customer focus; measurement, analysis and knowledge management; workforce focus; operations focus; and results.

“This recognition not only celebrates but demonstrates the hard work, dedication and commitment of our workforce to continuously improve and strive toward new levels of performance excellence,” said Julie Baldwin-Muñoz, Performance Administrator.

”Employee participation and collaboration is a testament to the culture of our City as an organization. Surveys of our employees found that 98 percent understand how their day-to-day work contributes to the City overall,” Roman Sanchez, Process Improvement Administrator.

The City of El Paso is the largest municipality to win the state award the United States. The City will be presented with the award at the Quality Texas Foundation conference June 25, 2019 in San Antonio.

City of El Paso Offers Funding for the Development of Affordable Rental Housing

On Thursday, officials with the City of El Paso’s Department of Community and Human Development announced funding availability for the development of affordable rental housing of investor and non-profit-owned properties.

The Department’s Housing Programs Division is offering Gap Financing up to $1 million per development for the rehabilitation, construction, or reconstruction of affordable rental housing.

Officials add that the purpose of this program is to increase and maintain the supply of affordable rental housing stock available to very low to moderate-income families.

Program guidelines and applications are available online. Deadline for Applications is July 18, 2019 by 5:00 p.m.

For more information, please call (915) 212-0139 or visit the Department of Community and Human Development Housing Division located at the City 3 building – 801 Texas Avenue, 3rd Floor.

Mandatory Funding Workshop:

April 18, 2019 from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

CITY 3 – 801 Texas Ave. – Thorman Basement Conference Room

An RSVP is required for attendance by April 17, 2019 5:00 p.m.

Please call 212-0139 to RSVP

 

City Invites Public to Guide City Budget Priorities via Online Survey

The City is inviting residents and businesses to help guide the community’s priorities for the next fiscal year by participating in its annual “Chime In” survey.

“Engaging the public early on in the budget process is a best management practice and it allows us to make investments that align with priorities identified by the community and with the City’s vision of having safe and beautiful neighborhoods, a vibrant regional economy, and exceptional recreational, cultural and educational opportunities,” Chief Financial Officer Robert Cortinas said.

Through the survey citizens are able advise City leaders which services are most meaningful to them.

“The survey is one of many public input opportunities afforded to the community during the budget development process,” city officials added, “If you want to influence how the City of El Paso prioritizes projects and services for Fiscal Year 2020 here is your chance.”

Last year’s survey results indicated the public wanted a greater emphasis on streets, parks and public safety.

The survey is available on the homepage of the City’s website.

The deadline to participate in the online survey is April 20, 2019.

City Council Votes to Move Funds to Accelerate, Complete Promised Projects

On Monday, City Council approved a recommendation by the Capital Improvement Department to allow the reprogramming of remaining capital improvement funds to keep advancing planned improvements to parks, streets and public safety.

“Bottom line is we are being fiscally responsible,” Capital Improvement Department Director Sam Rodriguez said. “By actively managing the Capital Improvement Program we are able to identify savings and square project listings to ensure that we are maximizing our resources while rolling out public works projects in an efficient and expeditious manner.”

The reprogramming request presented to Council allows the department to fund the Edgemere and RC Poe roundabout project in far East El Paso completely, expedite $17.9 million in parks and library quality of life bond projects, meet funding needs of three neighborhood water parks, and renovate the Leo Cancellare pool in West El Paso.

The Edgemere and RC Poe roundabout is estimated to cost $2.4 million of which $1.5 million will come from the 2012 Streets Capital Improvement Plan.

The plan is on track to be completed by 2021 and calls for all remaining street reconstruction projects will start construction this year.

City officials say that the “advances the City has made over the past year in rolling out the bond program enables it to start the remaining park and library projects in 2020, some three years ahead of schedule.”

The City added the Leo Cancellare pool located adjacent to the Westside Natatorium to the capital project listing to extend the useful life of the pool built in the 1970s.

The renovation projected to cost approximately $2.8 million will allow the facility to better serve the community’s needs and serve as a critical companion to the Westside Natatorium 50-meter pool.

The neighborhood water parks began design in 2018 and their costs were adjusted during their design phase as a result of community input and other factors, such as increases to utility requirements.

The Leo Cancellare pool renovations and funding adjustments for the neighborhood water parks in Central, Northeast and Mission Valley are being met through the reallocation of City investment revenues, other project savings, and funding from the neighborhood water park in West El Paso.

The waterpark in West El Paso will remain programmed but unfunded until the City purchases land for the project.

The City has completed 90 bond projects approved by voters in 2012. Another 13 projects are under construction and 24 more are in design.

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