I’ve been working on a post about City Council refusing a state grant for an historical survey of downtown, but then I read Max Grossman’s Facebook posts, via the El Paso Naturally blog. Read it. The situation is worse than I thought.
I was alerted to the shenanigans by this quote in the El Paso Times.
[City Representative Cortney] Niland said she was concerned from the beginning that the city was going to apply for the grant without stakeholders’ input. Moving forward and accepting the grant without the public’s trust, she said, would have been a “recipe for disaster.”
You’d think that Ms. Niland would recognize a recipe for disaster by now. Apparently, she’s a slow learner.
Obviously there are some backroom machinations taking place over revitalizing downtown. My guess is that the bone of contention is the Segundo Barrio, which the original downtown plan saw replaced with big box retail and upscale residential.
I suspect the movers and shakers behind the plans for downtown revitalization see poor Mexican Americans as impediments in their plans for economic development. That seems to be the consistent theme in their decisions.
New York Times travel writer Robert Draper and Congressman Beto O’Rourke know the value of the Segundo Barrio.
[W]hen I interviewed Mr. O’Rourke in Washington one day about other matters, I concluded by telling him, “I’m thinking of coming to your district to check out El Paso. Is there anything there that you think would surprise me?”
The congressman nearly sprang from his leather couch. “Oh, man,” he said. “You’ve got to go to Segundo Barrio.”
There was excitement in his voice, but also defiance.
Hopefully the El Paso County Historical Commission will find some way to overcome the recalcitrance of a duplicitous City Council to preserve our cultural and architectural treasures. I’d suggest that they seek historical overlays for parts of Segundo Barrio.