Ready, fire, aim!

This came in from Helen Marshall the other day.  It seems that once again the city is acting without thinking.  I’m sure we will hear from both sides on this issue.

Roiling the historic preservation community today:

The City (read, City Manager Gonzalez) has decided to withdraw support for an architectural survey and national registry nomination for downtown El Paso and to refuse the important $56,000 matching grant from the Texas Historical Commission that would have helped pay for it. The City applied for the grant, which was awarded, and is now refusing the funds for which it applied! The City will refuse an additional $15,000 that was awarded from the Summerlee Foundation of Dallas.  Well over half the approximately $120,000 cost of the project would have been paid for from organizations outside El Paso.
It appears that this was done at the behest of the Downtown Management District, which stated that it was opposed because it opposed any expansion of regulation or prohibitions on property owners, despite the fact that nothing of the kind attaches to the Historic District registration.  Cities across Texas and the West are applying for national registry listing, recognizing the value of heritage tourism and the quality of life inherent in historic buildings.  
The CIty Manager removed the proposal from the agenda of Council twice, and City staff have now outright rejected the grant, without any opportunity for Council to discuss and learn the facts about the proposal, or the community to express its wishes.
One blogger is now referring to our Manager as T-Rex.   Who would have thought that we could find a City Manager who would make Saint Joyce look good?
And who’s responsible, BTW, for the loss of some $29.8 million in transportation funding (including city matching funds of $5.8 to $6.8 million) since May 2014, due to incorrect and incomplete applications to the Metropolitan Planning Organization?


3 Responses to Ready, fire, aim!

  1. Reality Checker says:

    Yes, you’re correct. Cities across Texas and the West are applying for national registry listing, recognizing the value of historic buildings. The City of El Paso talks a good game about wanting to be like other leading cities, but when there is money to be made by a few select people, the greater good gets the wrecking ball.

    With regard to the CIty Manager removing the proposal from the Council agenda, any city rep who cares about this topic could have put it back on the agenda. Did you ever stop to think that some city reps, especially the one whose district includes downtown, might even be behind this decision? That city rep and others have received significant campaign contributions from downtown developers.


    • Helen Marshall says:

      Right – but can we assume that they are paying attention?…look at the Keystone Kops behavior about having a special meeting to discuss the MPO mess….let’s see what they do now that they’ve been publicly dissed. Agree about the downtown rep, who has maintained radio silence since this story broke.


      • Reality Checker says:

        That same city rep, who advocated for the San Jacinto Plaza contractor and boasted about her intent to be very involved throughout the construction project, also was no-show for the city council meeting when the San Jacinto problems were to be discussed.


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