This came in from Max Grossman:
We have come a long way since the City attempted to demolish Duranguito without complying with the Texas Antiquities Code. Now the City has changed its tune and is telling the media and the THC that they have always intended to comply with the law. Only minutes ago in Amarillo, the Antiquities Advisory Board of the Texas Historical Commission told the City of El Paso to expect the archaeological survey to be a “long and drawn out process.” Moreover, they told them that there is a 99.9% probability of finding significant remains below ground. Even the firm the City hired to carry out the survey stated that there are likely both “historic and prehistoric” strata beneath the neighborhood.
It is true that the Board ruled that the 12 State Antiquities Landmark applications we filed, though “excellently prepared,” are currently “incomplete” because no excavation has yet been carried out within the confines of the project footprint; but once we have in hand the archaeological data, we will not only resubmit the 12 applications, but we will also submit applications for the properties that the City acquired during the last several months, covering every publicly owned parcel within the “Arena Master Planning Area.” The final outcome will be the same.
Our team in Amarillo is comprised of Frank Ainsa, JP Bryan and archaeologist Dr. David Carmichael, and they are there to support the ongoing SAL nomination process and to make certain that the City complies fully with the Texas Antiquities Code. We are very encouraged by the statements of the Board members this morning and feel confident that the City will be compelled to conduct an extremely rigoroussurvey under THC guidelines.
I have to say, it was quite a spectacle watching City Architect Laura Foster and City Engineer Sam Rodriguez stand up in front of the Board and argue against us. It is just plain embarrassing how they represent our City to the Texas Historical Commission. The suspension of our SAL applications, however, will be of little consequence to them compared to our litigation in three different courts of law and we look forward to a series of legal decisions in the coming weeks and months.
Kudos to KVIA for live streaming the event. Their first report is here, although their use of the word “rejection” is inaccurate, since that would imply that the nomination process has been terminated. Rather, the Board ruled that the applications are “incomplete” and it is giving us the opportunity to resubmit them pending the archaeological survey by Moore. They were very clear about that.
What will the city do next?