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Home | Tag Archives: city of el paso

Tag Archives: city of el paso

City updates on Businesses’ Pledge To Safety program

Thursday morning, city officials shared that more than 90 local businesses have taken the Pledge to Safety as a way to further protect the health of their employees and customers; and help keep businesses open.

“Local businesses have shown amazing adaptability, resilience and patience during this unprecedented time, and understand that if we as a community devote ourselves to protecting each other we can help lower the spread of the disease and keep our businesses open,” said Jessica Herrera, Economic Development Director. “And as El Paso strategically reopens, we are committed to support our local businesses, their employees and our community as a whole. We are devoted to ensure that we all come out stronger and healthier than ever.”

The program, which launched on June 8, is a self-monitored program for local businesses created to implement additional safety measures to combat COVID-19.

The Pledge to Safety is signed by local businesses representing a broad range of industries including restaurants, bars, professional services, construction and manufacturing have pledged to comply with all of the safety requirements and recommendations made by health officials.

Pledge to Safety Guidelines for participating local businesses:

  • Review the checklist and modify their individual practices to meet the criteria
  • Submit their pledge online
  • Download Pledge to Safety material to display via their social media and as a window cling.
  • Participating business will be promoted via social media, newsletters and website.

To see the full list of companies that have taken the Pledge visit We Took the PledgeTestimonials from businesses participating in the Pledge to Safety can be viewed in the links below:

El Paso Chihuahuas and El Paso Locomotive FC

Rockstar Burger

L&Js Café

The program is a collaborative effort between the City of El Paso, the County of El Paso, the Downtown Management District, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation, Destination El Paso, the Better Business Bureau, the El Paso Chamber, the El Paso Chihuahuas, and El Paso Locomotive FC.

 Local businesses interested in participating in the Pledge to Safety Program must submit their pledge online at Pledge to Safety.

City invites Local Businesses to take the ‘Pledge of Safety’

On Monday, officials with the City of El Paso invited local business owners to take the Pledge to Safety as a way to further protect the health of their employees and customers.

“Local businesses have shown amazing adaptability, resilience and patience during this unprecedented time,” said Jessica Herrera, Economic Development Director.

“As El Paso gradually begins to reopen, we are committed to support our local businesses, their employees and our community as a whole. We will ensure that we all come out stronger and healthier than ever.”

Pledge to Safety is a self-monitored program for local businesses created to implement additional safety measures to combat COVID-19. Participating businesses will pledge to comply with all of the safety requirements and recommendations made by health officials.

Pledge of Safety Guidelines for participating local businesses:

  • Review the checklist and modify their individual practices to meet the criteria.
  • Submit their pledge online
  • Download Pledge to Safety material to display via their social media and as a window cling.
  • Participating business will be promoted via social media, newsletters and website.

“Pledge of Safety aims to protect the health and safety of employees and customers and instill community confidence,” officials added,

Local businesses interested in participating in the Pledge to Safety Program must submit their pledge online.

The program is a collaborative effort between the City of El Paso, the County of El Paso, the Downtown Management District, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Paso Del Norte Health Foundation, Destination El Paso, the Better Business Bureau, and the El Paso Chamber of Commerce.

Pledge to Safety -Business Poster

Gallery+Story: WBAMC, City of El Paso work together to stop spread of COVID-19

William Beaumont Army Medical Center is working with the El Paso Health Department in order to test the COVID-19 swabs taken from those suspected of being infected with COVID-19, under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief Act of 1988 and the Center for Disease Control Laboratory Response Network.

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Stafford Act) is a 1988 United States federal law designed to bring an orderly and systematic means of federal natural disaster assistance for state and local governments in carrying out their responsibilities to aid citizens.

“We are working hand-in-hand with the City of El Paso Public Health laboratory to produce the fastest results possible for service members and their families, DoD beneficiaries and the citizens of El Paso Texas,” said Lt. Col. Sonny Huitron, the Chief of Pathology and Laboratory Area Services, WBAMC. “Our goal is to get patients an answer within 24 hours and being able to ‘resource-share’ with the city has made that possible.”

Because of a national-wide shortage of necessary COVID-19 tests, equipment, and personnel, being able to pool resources and utilize other testing facilities is vital in helping to keep the community safe.

“The current collaboration that we have with Fort Bliss is an ongoing testament to our longstanding relationship with the post,” said El Paso City Fire Chief Mario D’Agostino. “This collaboration helps both the civilian and military community to make sure the health of our region is addressed.”

The WBAMC laboratory is set-up for COVID-19 testing 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This allows for increased throughput designed to process an increased number of tests with decreased turn around times.

“We keep the WBAMC lab and hospital staff updated on any significant changes that arise with regards to testing and safety. One such issue that is continually addressed is the usage of personal protective equipment (PPE),” said LTC Huitron. “In all healthcare environments, healthcare workers do not know whether an individual has COVID-19, so we use PPE to help prevent the transmission of the virus to hospital staff and patients we are caring for. An absolute priority is the well-being of our service members, healthcare workers and our patients. Minimizing the spread of this virus through PPE, hand hygiene and social distancing, flattens the curve and allows our community to prepare for the road to recovery.”

The basic PPE used during screening of COVID-19 patients may include: gloves, eye protection, a face mask or respirator, and coats or gowns. The PPE used in laboratories is determined by the Biosafety Level put forth by the Centers for Disease Control. WBAMC Bio-Safety Laboratory is a level three.

“I am in direct contact with biohazards every day, and I may wear gloves, but I still wash my hands,” said Emerito Rodriguez, medical technologist and biosafety officer in the WBAMC Bio-Safety Laboratory. “The main thing to help combat this virus is to just wash your hands.”

The CDC and other health officials are reminding people that proper hand-washing is one of the most effective means of keeping the virus at bay.

“In my opinion, the military is the tip of the spear as far as leading the fight against this virus,” said Huitron. “We have resources, expertise, and maintain a good relationship with the local community. Beaumont continually trains for circumstances like this. We’re good at adapting to new situations and working in harsh environments. Working with the El Paso community has only strengthened our abilities, and hopefully, together, we can stop the spread of this virus.”

Author: Spc. Christina Westover  – 24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element  

City announces new Public-Private Partnership for Regional Public Health Response to COVID19 Pandemic

Thursday morning, officials with the City of El Paso, in partnership with the Medical Center of the Americas Foundation (MCA) and the Paso del Norte Health Foundation (PDNHF) announced the creation of the COVID-19 Enhanced Regional Public Health Partnership.

Officials share that this new public-private partnership aims to improve communication and coordination between public sector officials, private sector partners and healthcare providers, and to strengthen the region’s collective capacity to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, Battelle, an international science and technology company that has been at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, has been contracted to work with partnership leaders and provide hands-on support and guidance.

“During these unprecedented times, our focus and priority remains the same: to ensure all our residents, especially our workers on the frontlines, remain safe and healthy, and that we put the right systems in place to stop the spread of coronavirus,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “That is why we are drawing on the expertise of Battelle and working with leaders across the region in the public and private sectors to enhance our response to this historic public health crisis.”

The COVID-19 Enhanced Regional Public Health Partnership will bring together a coalition of leaders from local hospitals, community clinics, medical research centers, public health departments and foundations, and local businesses to support the ongoing public health efforts throughout the Paso del Norte region to slow and stop the spread of coronavirus, and treat those who have already been impacted by this virus.

The partnership, which is fully funded through private donations and at no cost to taxpayers, will also:

  • Provide critical resources to protect the public and our essential workers on the front lines of this battle — especially healthcare workers and employees of other essential businesses such as utilities, grocery stores, restaurants and the regional medical device manufacturing industry
  • Work with city and regional officials to coordinate care and enhance communication among the many healthcare and non-healthcare organizations stepping up to help
  • Tackle this pandemic as a region, creating a coordinated and seamless response between El Paso, Ciudad Juárez, and Las Cruces.

“As we face one of the most catastrophic health and economic crises in recent history, we are employing the public health principles of robust collaboration and coordination to keep our region safe,” said Emma Schwartz, MPH, President of the Medical Center of the Americas (MCA) Foundation.

“Battelle is an institution that has taken a lead in helping the U.S. Federal government, as well as other communities and institutions respond to the pandemic. Through this partnership we will be able to closely monitor what’s working, where we have to make some adjustments, and how we can quickly respond to new challenges and get information and resources into the hands of our public health community. Enhanced coordination, communication and education are key to an effective response, and we are fortunate that this partnership will create a structure to coordinate the great assets and capabilities that we already have in this region, such as our government agencies, institutions of higher education, non-profits, associations, private companies, maker spaces, and so many others”

“We are excited to partner with the City of El Paso and these binational health foundations to enhance how this region is responding to the health and safety needs of this bi-national, tri-state region,” said Dr. Nicole Brennan, Director of Health Research at Battelle, who has been stationed in El Paso as part of this new partnership.

“Through the partnership, we are evaluating testing, personal protective equipment, triage and monitoring plans, hospital surge capacity planning, bi-national coordination and communications. One of our first orders of business is to make sure that we are able to get the right types of protective equipment into the hands of the nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, and others in the region who are at high-risk for infection.”

One unique feature of this new public-private partnership is the technical assistance and support that Battelle will be providing in responding to COVID-19.

Battelle has already worked with Ohio Department of Health in their response to coronavirus, are conducting in-vivo and in-vitro lab work for the Federal Government to test and evaluate COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines, and recently received FDA approval of a new personal protective equipment (PPE) decontamination system.

At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers.

Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries.

“In order for us to truly stabilize and control the spread of this virus, we must think and act regionally. What happens in Ciudad Juarez impacts El Paso and vice versa, so one of the goals of this partnership is to create a regional response to COVID-19,” said Tracy Yellen, Chief Executive Officer of the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.

“We want to maximize and deploy our resources across the region, and that requires all of us to act collectively in our response.”

Earlier this week, Mayor Margo also announced the creation of the Economic Task Force, a group of business and community leaders who will focus on developing strategies to safely reopen El Paso businesses and get residents back to work.

The COVID-19 Enhanced Regional Public Health Partnership will work in tandem with the Economic Task Force to mitigate the health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region.

The Economic Task Force is chaired by Rick Francis, chief executive officer of WestStar Bank, who was also appointed by Governor Greg Abbott to serve on the “Strike Force to Open Texas.” Kristina Mena, Ph.D., dean of the University of Texas-Houston School of Public Health El Paso Campus, is also serving as an expert adviser to Dr. John Zerwas, Executive Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Texas System, for his participation in the Strike Force.

Francis and Mena are members of the Enhanced Regional Public Health Partnership. Collectively, their participation will ensure coordination between local and state efforts.

“This public-private partnership offers an opportunity to leverage best practices and re-affirms our community’s commitment to implement promising processes,” said El Paso City Manager Tommy Gonzalez. “Although we are undergoing an incomparable period, the City is committed to staying focused on our obligation to our residents to promote a healthy, productive and safe community.”

Additional information about the COVID-19 Enhanced Regional Public Health Partnership will be made available by the City of El Paso in the coming days.

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

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

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

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