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Home | Tag Archives: san jacinto plaza

Tag Archives: san jacinto plaza

San Jacinto Plaza Named ‘Great Public Space of Texas’ for 2019

The Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association announced Monday that San Jacinto Plaza in Downtown El Paso has been designated a Great Public Space by the state chapter’s Great Places in Texas program.

“San Jacinto Plaza is rich in history, and builds on the progressive and forward-thinking tradition of El Paso” said Doug McDonald, AICP, APA-Texas Chapter President.

“El Paso was named Community of the Year by the American Planning Association in 2018 and city planners across the state are constantly watching what is coming out of The Sun City as a next best practice. The planning and public outreach process of the San Jacinto Plaza directly contributed to the successful design, activation, and programming of the space. The park continues to serve as the heart of Downtown El Paso and as an important gathering place for El Pasoans of all ages and abilities. San Jacinto Plaza contributes to El Paso’s solid foundation of a safe, vibrate, sustainable, and successful city that offers an exceptional quality of life for citizens.”

Great Places in Texas exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value. This year marks the third year of the Great Places in Texas program, which is modeled from the American Planning Association’s ongoing Great Places in America program.

Chet Garner, creator, producer, writer, and editor and host of the 7-time Lone Star Emmy Award winning “The Daytripper” is the spokesperson for the program.

“Through Great Places in Texas, the Texas Chapter of APA recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of all communities — streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces. APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live every day, places that are enjoyable, safe, and desirable. Such places are defined by many characteristics, including architectural features, accessibility, functionality, and community involvement.”

The five other Great Places in Texas designees for 2019 are:

⦁ Downtown Bastrop – Bastrop, Texas
⦁ Downtown Nacogdoches – Nacogdoches, Texas
⦁ Levitt Pavilion – Arlington, Texas
⦁ Discovery Green – Houston, Texas
⦁ Hill Country Mile – Boerne, Texas

Representatives from the City of El Paso will be in Austin, Texas on April 1 to accept the award as part of the American Planning Association – Texas Chapter’s Planners’ Day at the State Capitol. Recognition will be given in both the House and Senate Chambers, and representatives will be meeting with Senator Jose Rodriquez and Representative Lina Ortega who represent El Paso’s San Jacinto Plaza.

Announcements will be made throughout the day on the Texas Chapter’s Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, and Instagram.

For more information about the 2019 Great Places in Texas, as well as a list of the Great Places in America designees located in the state, visit their website.

City Set to Celebrate Holiday Extravaganza Friday, Saturday at San Jacinto Plaza

The City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department will present a Holiday Extravaganza in the heart of the city at San Jacinto Plaza.

The event will have the opportunity for free photos with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus (residents need to bring their own camera) and participation in the traditional Piñata celebration.

Entertainment will highlight the festivities along with food trucks, arts and crafts and  general merchandise vendors along with activities for all ages.

Performances will include:Elsa and Ana Princesses Winter Show
Christmas Carols with the “Cuarteto Siluetas”
Kids-N-Co presenting a skit from a “Charlie Brown Christmas”
Ballet Folklorico Quetzales performing “Pastorelas Mexicanas”

The Extravaganza will run from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Friday, December 15th and Saturday, December 16th.

For more information on the event, call (915) 212-1731

Op-Ed: City Caves on Plastic People, Ignores Real Residents

In roughly the same amount of time that it took the city to show, then tell everyone exactly how the new arena would be shoehorned into Downtown El Paso, the normally intransigent machinery that is local government caved to public pressure (after yet another self-inflicted wound) in record time and restored the much-beloved (dare I say ‘historic’) Nativity Scene to San Jacinto Plaza.

Which got me thinking, ‘this seems familiar, somehow…’  Information, but no real details.  ‘Very familiar, indeed…’

The city, as far back as November 4th, hinted at – but didn’t come completely clean – on the ‘cataclysmic’ changes to come to the beloved Christmas lights.

“We are excited to bring a brand new lighting display to historic downtown San Jacinto Plaza! This year we will celebrate the 101st anniversary of the park, and will celebrate the holidays with this new version of lighting,” said El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser. 

Vague, but encouraging…something to look forward to.

On December 3rd, within minutes of Mayor Leeser flipping the switch on the Christmas lights in the heart of the city, residents immediately put the spotlight on what wasn’t there. Photos were taken, as families wandered the newly renovated area, all in a search of the Baby Jesus and his parents.

It was all for naught, as the city had decided months earlier to modernize the light display, in the same vein as the revamp of the entire plaza, leaving the Holy Family out in the cold.

For many El Pasoans, this could not…would not…stand.

Outraged residents commented on countless Facebook posts and photo galleries; local TV stations jumped in, as did radio morning shows. “War on Christmas” was even uttered by some.  By Monday, December 5th the city realized the error of their lighted ways.

“The City of El Paso will install the nativity scene that’s been displayed at San Jacinto Plaza as part of a longtime tradition. The nativity scene will be visible as you drive on North Mesa.” Interim Managing Director Quality of Life, Dionne Mack.

And all was well with the world.

Except for a one-and-a-half block (or four block depending on the day/release) area of Downtown El Paso.  Where real people live, and have lived since the first saplings were planted at the original San Jacinto Plaza, nary a plastic Holy Family in sight.

Is this a “1970’s-style urban renewal project involving mass demolition”? No. This question seems to ask whether the City is wiping out an entire “old” neighborhood to replace it with something new. This project is being designed to fit in the smallest footprint possible, incorporate existing facilities, and create foot traffic to support local businesses.

Sure, there’s been outrage and protests, meetings and charrettes all chock full of impassioned prose and the murkiest legalese money can buy; but the decision stands:  We’re building there, and you are out.

“Everyone impacted will be relocated in accordance with the law,” City Attorney Sylvia Borunda Firth said. “It is absolutely our goal to negotiate in good faith with property owners to reach agreement on purchase prices. We will work diligently to develop a relocation plan that works for each situation, keeping those who want to remain downtown in the area.”

There is irony here.

Some of those residents, who can take a stroll and see the newly reinstalled Nativity Scene, are set to lose their homes right about the same time the lights will be pulled down in 2017.

Real people, set to lose their homes, staring at plastic people who have a place in downtown – thanks to a change of heart by the city.

Such outrage, and then quick action, to resolve a decision that a majority of the public deemed a mistake.  All over the physical representation of a displaced family, denied lodging at every turn, finally given only the barest shelter at their most vulnerable point in their lives.

The same could be said over the decision to put the arena in that place. Same outrage. Same posts. Same fury. Different outcome.

It would seem that our elected officials – and some of our fellow El Pasoans – are more concerned over plastic people and their shelter, rather than living human beings and their homes.

‘Tis the Season, I guess.

 Photo gallery courtesy Jon Eckberg

City: Nativity Scene to be Reinstalled at San Jacinto Plaza

According to a late Monday news release, the city will be reinstalling the Nativity Scene at the newly renovated San Jacinto Plaza.

The lack of the Nativity had angered some El Pasoans, as it was missing from this weekend’s lighting ceremony. Some even pointed to the scene’s absence as yet another chapter in the ‘War against Christmas.’

Via a news release, Interim Managing Director Quality of Life, Dionne Mack stated, “The City of El Paso will install the nativity scene that’s been displayed at San Jacinto Plaza as part of a longtime tradition. The nativity scene will be visible as you drive on North Mesa.”

Mack added, “We hope everyone will have a chance to visit the Plaza and see the spectacular lights and decorations on display through January 8.”

The nativity scene should be installed by this weekend.

Story in Many Pics: San Jacinto Christmas Lighting & Parade

Thousands of El Pasoans returned to the heart of our city to celebrate the Christmas season in San Jacinto Plaza.  From the tree lighting to the Parade of Lights, the city’s center was alight with both new decorations and smiles.

Our Andres Acosta was there as well, and brings you his view of the festivities in this season’s ‘Story in Many Pics.’

2016 Celebration of Lights Ceremony and Parade, San Jacinto Plaza El Paso Texas.
2016 Celebration of Lights Ceremony and Parade, San Jacinto Plaza El Paso Texas.
2016 Celebration of Lights Ceremony and Parade, San Jacinto Plaza El Paso Texas.
2016 Celebration of Lights Ceremony and Parade, San Jacinto Plaza El Paso Texas.

City to Paint No Parking Zone Around San Jacinto Plaza Monday

The City’s Streets and Maintenance Department on Monday, Nov. 7, will paint the curb surrounding San Jacinto Plaza yellow to notify motorists that parking is not allowed adjacent to the park.

The work will start at 6:30 a.m. and should be completed the same day; and the work will be conducted as part of Title 12 amendment recently approved by City Council. The amendment allows for the City to mark the no parking zone around the plaza by painting the curb instead using poles and signs to restrict parking.

The amendment approved by council also allows for the language restricting parking around the plaza to be modified from “no stopping or standing – tow-away zone” to “parking prohibited at all times.”

The changes are intended to deter vehicles from parking in the travel lanes adjacent the plaza, which is traffic safety hazard. Parking in the travel lanes adjacent to the plaza has also contributed to landscaping damage because people step on the vegetation when they exit the vehicles.

Sufficient parking options near San Jacinto exist. They include hundreds parking spaces at public garages, lots and meters. Enforcement of the parking restrictions will commence upon completion of the painting project.

The Street and Maintenance Department will conduct additional work on streets surrounding the plaza as part of the project to paint the curb.

This weeklong work will also start on Nov. 7 and will be conducted at night to reduce the impact on traffic. The project scope includes restriping lane lines and pavement markings on Oregon, Mills, Mesa and Main.

El Barrio del Diablo: A Look Back at Life in the Projects – Dinner and a Movie

When I was eight, a bus ride to downtown El Paso cost a nickel. I’d go see a movie almost every weekend, not caring what was showing.

Maybe a Jerry Lewis movie, or one of those goofy “Beach Party” flicks with Annette Funicello, Frankie Avalon, and a bunch of other bad unnamed1actors and singers.

Once, I walked into the Plaza Theater thinking I was gonna see a war story with tanks, guns and bombs. It was called “Seven Days in May” (1964) and it starred Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglasunnamed2.


I had no idea it was gonna be two hours of political deliberations about ending the Cold War. I was bored out of my gourd, yet I stayed till the bitter end.

I guess I was in no rush to go back home.

Most of the time I would get into town early enough to window shop and check stores out.

I’d stop in if they had a magazine section. The Blumenthal building across from the Capri theater had all sorts: MAD, Creepy, Famous Monsters.unnamed3

The Popular department store had paperback books up on the third floor: MAD, B.C., Peanuts and others. And I liked riding the escalator.

The Kress store in the middle of town had a cool toy model section with cars, hot rods and monsters. On one side of the store was a diner. I’d glance at it from a distance wishing I could have an ice cream soda while sitting on a swivel seat.

The record section had The Beatles latest album on display, and I wished I had a couple of bucks to buy one.

unnamed4If you exited the north side of Kress’ doors you’d face Mills Street. On the other side of the street was the center of downtown; a square plaza where crosstown buses would layover and riders could transfer to a different route.

Locals called it La Plaza de Lagartos, but city officials had already christened it San Jacinto Square many years before.

In the center was a pool with two scaly, grey alligators lazily sunning themselves – they seldom moved at all.

People would toss pennies, dimes and nickels at them in an attempt to wake them from their stupor.

The motionless beasts carried spare change on their backs for weeks. I’d stand and stare from behind a four-foot iron fence. They were hideous and strangely silent. I would stop by on occasion to see if one ofunnamed5 them would move.

Maybe their sedentary lifestyle was because of the lithium content in the El Paso drinking water back then.

One afternoon a couple GI’s stopped by to see the gators. They were laughing with one another and I soon found out they were daring one of them to jump in. Sure enough, a G.I. jumped over the fence, grabbed an alligator’s tail and shook it a couple times.

Annoyed, the gator bared its teeth with a hiss and the soldier jumped back over the fence in one quick motion. They laughed again and I stood there with my mouth open just like the surprised gator!

Always a worry-wart, I wondered about the legal ramifications. Are the cops showing up? I guess I was the only one in the plaza that witnessed it. The alligator went back to sleep. It’s cousin didn’t even notice. And dozens of people had missed the free show.

As I turned away I wondered if the day would not get any better than that. Then, a short distance away, three school friends of mine had just unnamed6gotten off the bus. “Hey”, I yelled out. They turned and waved me over, ”Want to go to Coney Island?”

I looked at them like they were speaking a foreign language, “What is that?” They pointed and said, “It’s just across the street down the block. They have the best hot dogs there”.

Hmm…it sounded good but I wasn’t sure I had enough. I checked my pocket change. Lets see…35¢ for the movie, 10¢ for a soda, a nickel to get back home on the bus. “Guys, I only have a quarter left”, I said kinda bummed. One of them piped up, “You can buy 2!” “Huh?”

“They’re 12¢ each!”, they said with big grins. Since food was involved, everyone walked a fast clip to get there.

Facing East Main Street between Mesa and Oregon Streets, Coney Island was the proverbial greasy spoon diner almost out of a Happy Days episode. Burgers, fries, hot dogs, milk shakes…this place was an oasis to us kids and many others.

We sat in a small booth and my friends and I must have looked like we belonged to the Little Rascals fan club. The aroma of the diner was a mixture of frying burgers, coffee and cigarette smoke. I immediately noticed the record player machines installed at every table.unnamed7

I was checking out the songs – you could get 3 plays for a quarter. Then, an unimpressed waitress came over and took our order: everyone wanted chili dogs.

The food arrived and sitting right in front of me, were two pigs in a blanket swimming in chili.

As I picked one up and took a bite – it was delish. The buns were fresh and the dog and chili combination was tasty. My friends were eating pretty fast. I was still still savoring my first bite. I had another and was hooked.

The first dog was gone in no time, so I tried to make the second one last. This was good eatin’. I thought to myself, “I gotta come back here soon”.

I hated to go, but there was a movie that my friends were going to that I had planned on seeing as well.

“Reptilicus” was showing at the State theater located on East San Antonio. Nothing like a monster movie after a couple of chili dogs.

Jose Oswaldo RicoJosé Oswaldo Rico, Guest Contributor

Previous Column HERE

Busy Tuesday as City Council Approves Several Key Contracts, Parking Changes for San Jacinto Plaza

From tax incentives for a new downtown hotel, to park construction and parking, members of the El Paso City Council have a very busy Tuesday.

First, City Council members approved a Chapter 380 Economic Incentive Agreement with Hotel Sancho Panza LLC for the development of a downtown Marriott Courtyard Urban hotel.

The multi-million dollar development will add more than 140 hotel rooms near the El Paso Convention Center, strengthening El Paso’s competitiveness as a convention destination.

Per the agreement, Hotel Sancho Panza LLC is expected to invest a minimum of $8 million in developing the 10-story hotel. The developer will receive a 100% real and personal property tax rebate not to exceed $844,089.

Also, the City will waive all building and development permit/inspection fees related to the project.

In addition to the City’s incentives, the terms of the Chapter 380 Economic Incentive Agreement will allow Hotel Sancho Panza LLC to apply for the State of Texas Convention Center Hotel Occupancy Tax Rebate Program. The estimated incentives under this program are $4,386,331.

Council also took new action on the long-awaited Eastside Sports Complex.

Members approved a design-build contract amendment establishing the Guaranteed Maximum Price of approximately $8.6 million for the development of the first phase of an 80-acre facility known as the Eastside Sports Complex.

The first phase of development of the complex located in far east El Paso near the intersection of Montwood and John Hayes will focus on the development 42.2 acres of land, which will include the following services and amenities:

  • 7 sodded irrigated competition flat fields, and 1 championship style field
  • Shaded seating to accommodate 500 spectators
  • Fencing to maintain control access
  • A new hike and bike trail will be constructed along the perimeter of the park

The complex will also include new ADA compliant restrooms, parking, and sidewalks, as well as a sheltered area with picnic tables and benches, which will allow food trucks to serve visitors and spectators during competitions or events.  As part of the project a new storage and maintenance facility will also be constructed in order to allow for the park’s upkeep.

Earlier this year, Council awarded a “Design Build” contract for the Eastside Sports Complex to Jordan Foster Construction and MNK Architects.  Design Build, groups the design and construction companies for the project into one contract, which allows the City to better coordinate the entire project from start to finish.

With Tuesday’s action, the design build team will soon be able to begin the construction of the first phase of the complex, which will occur once all the contractual documents are finalized.  The remaining phase of the complex will be developed at a future date if funding becomes available.

During the same session, council awarded a contract valued at approximately $250,000 for program management services of the Northgate Transfer Center to ECM International Inc. of El Paso.

ECM International will work with the City’s Capital Improvement Department and Sun Metro to provide program management services to facilitate the construction of the $10.6 million transfer center and its parking garage, primarily funded by a TIGER grant from the Department of Transportation.

Services will include enforcement of construction schedules, project scope, project budget and quality of work.

The Northgate Transfer Center to be housed on a portion of a 30-acre site located near Dyer Street and Diana Drive is the City of El Paso’s component of a unique transit-oriented development.

The transfer center will anchor a public-private development known as Metro 31, which is a mixed-use development that will integrate the new transfer center and its Dyer Brio rapid transit corridor station with residential, retail and commercial office spaces. The city broke ground on the transfer center and parking garage in August.

The transfer center is being constructed by Dantex Construction, Inc. of El Paso and was designed by EXIGO of El Paso assisted by RNL of Denver, Colorado.

The project was designed as a LEED silver project, and includes the following passenger amenities:  a fully developed bus circulation area, including berths for the Brio, regional, and local buses to facilitate smooth transitions between bus routes; bus transfer areas with canopies; a park and ride garage which includes 17,000 square feet of retail space; enclosed waiting, information and ticketing areas; electronic on-street message boards; bike racks; Wi-Fi; and a landscaped public plaza.

Also in Northeast El Paso,  Council awarded an $182,000 contract for the construction of Futureland Park in Northeast to the Martinez Brothers Contractors of El Paso.

The half-acre park will be located on O’Donnell Street on a parcel of land just north of the intersection of O’Donnell and Dyer Street. The land was donated to the City of El Paso by Jobe Materials Construction and the project should be completed in Spring 2017.

The park’s total budget is $450,000 and covers expenses related to the development of the project including construction, design, and play equipment.

Amenities for the park will include a playground with lighted canopy structure, half-basketball court, landscape, picnic tables with lighted shade canopy structure, and bicycle racks.

In other park-related decisions, Council ratified an amendment to Title 12 of the City Code, which prohibits parking around San Jacinto Plaza. The change will allow the Streets and Maintenance Department to mark the no parking zone around the plaza by painting the curb instead using poles and signs to restrict parking.

The amendment approved by council also allows for the language restricting parking around the plaza to be modified from “no stopping or standing – tow-away zone” to “parking prohibited at all times.”

The changes were necessary to deter vehicles from parking in the travel lanes adjacent the plaza, which is traffic safety hazard. Parking in the travel lanes adjacent to the plaza has also contributed to landscaping damage because people step on the vegetation when they exit the vehicles.

“Parking restrictions around San Jacinto Plaza are not new. What we are doing is amending the ordinance to allow us to mark the curb with the parking restrictions so that we can minimize sign clutter at the newly renovated plaza,” Streets and Maintenance Department Director Ted Marquez said. “Sufficient parking exists and will remain by San Jacinto. They include metered parking spaces across the street from the park, as well as, nearby garages and parking lots.”

The curb surrounding San Jacinto Plaza will be painted yellow to remind motorists that parking is not allowed adjacent to the park.

16 de Septiembre Celebration set for San Jacinto Plaza, Senior Centers

The City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department will host a free 16 de Septiembre Celebration from 5 p.m. to midnight on Friday, September 16, and Saturday, September 17, at San Jacinto Plaza in downtown El Paso.

The festival will have a Grito (Shout) commemoration at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 16th led by the Honorable Mayor of El Paso, Oscar Leeser and the honorable Mexican Consul Marcos Bucio Mujicia.

Live entertainment will be provided by Mariachi Los Arrieros, La Mastrigal Sonora, and various Folklorico dance groups along with jumping balloons and other games for children.

There will be food provided by local food trucks and art will be on display by area artists.

As part of the 16th de Septiembre festivities downtown will be a “Pokémon – Catch ‘em all” with Parks and Recreation also at San Jacinto Plaza from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Friday, September 16, 2016.

The event will have recharging stations by El Paso Electric Company, giveaways, prizes and games along with awards to the bet picture with Pokémon in a park posted to the city Parks and Recreation Facebook with #ParkemonEP.

The city Parks and Recreation Department offers an outstanding schedule of other free 16 de Septiembre events as listed below by area Senior Centers:

September 15th Grandview Senior Center
3134 Jefferson Ave. 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

September 15th San Juan Placita
701 N. Glenwood Dr. 600 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

September 16th Polly Harris Senior Center
650 Wallenberg Dr. 10:00 a.m.

September 16th Happiness Senior Center
563 N Carolina Dr. 10:00a.m.

September 16th South El Paso Senior Ctr.
600 S. Ochoa St. 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Information (915) 544-0753

Your City in 5: San Jacinto Plaza set to Open

In today’s ‘Your City in 5’, we have the information on the newly renovated San Jacinto Plaza. It details what the plaza has to over and all the unique features people can expect.

The video also highlights other of quality of life projects and free mulch for residents. For more information on all of these stories, visit

City Announces Details for San Jacinto Plaza Re-Opening and Fiesta

In what was more of a pep rally than a news conference, city officials announced on Wednesday the plans for next week’s opening of San Jacinto Plaza.

Surrounded by several city mascots, Mayor Oscar Leeser announced that the much-anticipated opening of the city’s plaza would be a daylong party.

“This project…they’ve done an incredible job with it,” Mayor Leeser stated, “in my opinion it was all very much well-worth the wait.”

Leeser added that the city’s entire staff was driven to make sure the entire project was done properly. He credited City Representative Cortney Niland for championing the community’s vision of what San Jacinto Plaza should be, and making sure the contractors stuck with it.

“She made sure the community was getting exactly what it voted for…no compromises…so this could be the top class park in El Paso,” Leeser added, “She counted every blade of grass that went in down there…”

For her part, Representative Niland said there were not enough superlatives in the dictionary to describe the revamped Plaza.

“This work had to be done correctly…the community is passionate about San Jacinto Plaza and what would go into the project,” Niland excitedly shared with the small crowd in City Hall’s Foyer, “we had to keep the things that made the Plaza what it was, but modernize it.”

Niland said that the city spared no expense in making sure everything was correct, as she personally walked through the project nearly ever week to make sure the citizens got what they paid for.

She even referenced the project’s numerous delays by saying, “(It’s) so good…I forgot all the pain, all the agony…I got tears in my eyes as I walked around…it’s shines like a new penny in the heart of the city.”

“If I had known it was going to be this good, I would have waited two more years,” Nilandsanjplza added, as the group laughed.

Mayor Leeser said there was no final price tag on the entire project, but the original figure of $6 million was correct; pending the final review of the project’s ‘punch list’ and discussion of the fines due to the project’s delay.

As for the celebration, Ben Fyffe of the City’s Museum and Cultural Affairs Department, said the party would represent all the excitement and color that San Jacinto Plaza is.

“This whole project has been a labor of love, and we’re excited for the reopening,” Fyffe said, “to that end there will be plenty of excitement in and around the Plaza all day Saturday.”

Fyffe said the dedication is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m., followed by a fiesta that will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  There will be street performers, music and interactive art that visitors can help make and take home.

With the reopening of San Jacinto, El Pasoans will be able to use the area during the upcoming downtown events, and again as much-missed original location of the Downtown Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting in December.

Officials said there were some last-minute touches – such as replanting the few flowers that did not survive the winter and the final inspection of the restaurant – but that there was nothing that would keep the Plaza from reopening on the 16th of April.

To read previous San Jacinto Stories, click HERE

No April Fooling Here: San Jacinto Plaza set to Open April 16th

According to a flyer released Friday by the Downtown Management District (DMD), the much-delayed and behind schedule San Jacinto Plaza is set to open on Saturday, April 16th.

The public release of the informational flyer by the DMD on their facebook page and on April 1st had some thinking that the announcement was some sort of April Fool’s Joke. According to broadcast media reports, the city is set to have a news conference on Wednesday to announce further details.

San Jacinto Plaza 1880 |Photo UTEP Special Collections

The centerpiece project of the 2012 Quality of Life Bonds has been controversial, due to the length of the project and its multiple delays.

From changes in the management of the project, to tree root damage to a problem with the cabling for the canopy, work on the project seemed to stretch longer than anyone anticipated.

Crews first turned soil on the project nearly two years ago, at that time the target date for completion was February of 2015.

Community members were upset with the loss of the venue during the Christmas Season,

San Jacinto Plaza 1954 | Photo: El Paso Co. Historical Commission
San Jacinto Plaza 1954 | Photo: El Paso Co. Historical Commission

where the tree lighting was traditionally held.

It was just over a month ago that the canopy was finally hoisted into place and the newly-restored gator sculpture returned to the center of the Plaza.

The Plaza has been the center of the city, right from the start, with several renovations over the site’s 130-plus year history.

The dedication is scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m., followed by a fiesta that organizers say will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Jimenez’s sculpture Los Lagartos Reinstalled at San Jacinto Plaza

Los Lagartos is back to its place as the focal point of San Jacinto Plaza.

The reinstallation of the sculpture – designed for San Jacinto Plaza by nationally celebrated El Paso artist Luis Jimenez – is among the final components of the reconstruction of the plaza.  The reinstallation took place Tuesday

gators back 3
Photo: City of El Paso / © 2016 Estate of Luis A. Jimenez, Jr. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The canopy at the plaza will now be able to be completed now that the sculpture is in place. Other remaining projects include completing the café and installing remaining light fixtures, pavers under the canopy, reflective pool tile, and landscaping and pavers along Oregon street.

The sculpture will remain wrapped and protected during the completion of construction work at the plaza.

Reconstruction of San Jacinto Plaza was approved as part of the 2012 Quality of Life Bonds. When it is complete, San Jacinto Plaza will be a more open interactive place for downtown visitors and workers to relax during the day. Renovations an interactive water feature or “splash pad,” public surfaces for games (chess tables, ping pong tables and huacha court), a full-service café as well as benches, sidewalks and enhanced landscaping.

gators back
Photo: City of El Paso / © 2016 Estate of Luis A. Jimenez, Jr. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Los Lagartos (The Alligators) is a playful grouping paying homage to the live alligators that were once kept in a specially gated artificial lagoon in the middle of San Jacinto Plaza. Moved to the El Paso Zoo in the late 1950s, the alligators were a favorite among many El Pasoans, including the young Jimenez who often visited on Saturday afternoons. It was first installed in San Jacinto Plaza in 1993.

The sculpture was temporarily removed from the Plaza to have extensive conservation work completed that recaptured the original beauty of this sculpture. The materials Jimenez used in his sculptures provided a unique opportunity during its conservation.

McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory Inc. worked with the nation’s premier automotive paint company, PPG, Inc., on new techniques that will protect the Los Lagartos from exposure to the sun and extreme heat.

About the artist (Courtesy City of El Paso) Jimenez, is best known for large-scale fiberglass sculptures. The son of an illegal immigrant, Jimenez’s work often gravitates to the political—embracing Southwestern imagery, Chicano themes and questioning long-held beliefs about American history, power and entitlement.

Although El Paso serves as one of the largest repositories of his work, Jimenez’s art can be found in collections throughout the United States, most prominently installed outside the Smithsonian Museum of American Art/National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. Jimenez passed away in 2006.

To view all the pictures, click HERE

Author: City of El Paso.

EPCC GALA JUNE 28 2019 728
Amy’s Astronomy
STEP 728
Utep Football Generic 728
Soccer/Volleyball 728
Bordertown Undergroun Show 728
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