Dear Friends and Media,

On September 21, the County Commissioners Court voted 4-0 under agenda item 18 (with Vince Perez absent) to accept the draft narrative of the National Historic District nomination for Downtown El Paso. In doing so, the Court also agreed to incorporate feedback from me and my colleague at The Trost Society, Mark Stone, as well as from Dr. Yolanda Leyva and Cynthia Renteria, both UTEP historians. Our feedback is attached to the agenda item. You can view the presentation and vote here, starting at the 4:10 mark.

As you know, on September 15 the El Paso City Council had voted 6-2 “to recommend the nomination of downtown and Segundo Barrio projects and to remove the multipurpose center boundaries from the project.” But as I stated below, the City has no authority to intervene and their vote was merely symbolic, as it had no legal force.

I received quite a few phone calls and emails of concern following the City Council’s vote and I want to assure you that the nomination will proceed exactly as planned, in spite of the City’s “recommendation” to exclude Duranguito.

The City did actually submit to the County a map of the proposed district excluding the “Arena Footprint” along with its 13 National-Register-eligible properties (attached). The County, however, made perfectly clear that the boundaries of the district will not be changed and that the process will forward over their objections.

The unanimous County vote reaffirms that the district boundaries will be those that were already approved on June 29 by a 5-0 vote.

The second and final draft of the nomination will be submitted to the Texas Historical Commission by November 1, and there will be a public hearing on the matter the following January 16. The final nomination should be ready for submission to the National Park Service in Washington DC by February 2021.

Meanwhile the nomination for the Segundo Barrio National Historic District is also underway, and it should be ready for submission to the National Park Service in June 2021.

I will continue to follow both nominations closely and keep you informed.


Max Grossman, PhD

Board of Directors, Preservation Texas

Vice-Chair, The Trost Society