Construction Crews Move Into Downtown El Paso Early Tuesday Morning And Begin Demolishing Durangito Buildings
Early Tuesday morning just as we were about to wrap up Mike and Tricia Mornings, I saw live video on KTSM's Facebook page that showed the partial destruction of buildings in the Durangito neighborhood. It was pretty shocking considering on Monday afternoon, local historian Max Grossman was able to get an injunction that stopped any demolition of the buildings until further court hearings could take place. The Paso del Sur group also delivered 2,200 signatures on a petition to City Hall that could have put the whole Durangito/downtown arena issue before voters. Both Grossman and Paso del Sur thought things had calmed down for a minute.
Boy, were they wrong.
Around 7 o'clock Tuesday morning, word got out that a bobcat construction vehicle was bashing holes in the walls of several of the privately owned buildings in Durangito that were the most prized by Grossman and Paso del Sur. The construction company that came in and knocked holes in the Flor de Luna building, the Tiradero Market, and other Durangito buildings had allegedly not gotten the word that the buildings were not to be demolished because of the Stay Order granted to Grossman. The only thing is, the holes that were bashed into the buildings were on the downstairs corners of the buildings, and no other work was done. There was no attempt to make the structures safe, and most structures that are being demolished are torn down from the top down so as to not have a dangerous collapse.
FLOR DE LUNA GALLERY SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9 BEFORE DEMOLITION
FLOR DE LUNA GALLERY TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, AFTER PARTIAL DEMOLITION
The buildings in Durangito have been neglected for decades. They were not taken care of, and despite what Grossman and Paso del Sur say, the neglect didn't just start when the Quality of Life bond passed a few years ago. Building owners in El Paso are allowed to sit on buildings, not do any upgrades on them, and let the slowly rot. Every City Council for 50+ years is guilty of this. Historical societies in El Paso are also guilty of trying these last ditch efforts to save buildings that have been sitting under their noses for decades.
If El Paso is truly going to capitalize on its historical downtown areas, and grow new projects to bring in new money and tourism, people have got to stop chaining themselves to buildings and start making elected officials accountable for property owners neglect. There is no reason why these buildings can't be saved, but protesting and holding up progress isn't the way to do it.
It all falls on voters. If you don't vote in an election, people who are beholden to wealthy property owners are going to be City reps. After they are elected, petitioning and protesting do very little good. Vote, or continue to watch these buildings get taken down.