The Downtown Management District has just sent out letters to owners of property in Downtown El Paso within the area framed by El Paso Street, Mills Street, Kansas Street, and Paisano Drive. (see attached)

The DMD apparently plans to create a Brownfield Inventory & Existing Conditions Analysis for the area, as if there were widespread underground contamination from toxic substances, as at the Asarco site.

This will then result in a “Market Assessment” and “redevelopment recommendations and strategies,” including for “catalyst sites.”

Apparently the DMD won an EPA Brownfields Assessment Grant. It would be interesting to see the application.

Downtown El Paso is no more a Brownfield site than the open spaces bordering El Paso are legitimate TIRZ sites.

You see, certain El Paso developers find very creative ways to advance their private interests by exploiting government incentive programs that are clearly intended for other purposes.

Likewise, we have seen local government use eminent domain in order to provide the public with entertainment–again, in support of certain private interests.

Let’s be clear about one thing from the get-go. The “cleanup activities” associated with Brownfield sites are about removing underground environmental contamination, not about razing historic buildings for redevelopment.

Isn’t it interesting that the proposed site is squarely within the proposed Downtown National Register Historic District?

I don’t know what the folks at the DMD are planning for lunch, but let’s hope more mass demolition is not on the menu.

Enjoy your Sunday.