Dear Friends and Media,

This morning at 9:30am the County Commissioners Court will convene. Item 6, the first action item on the agenda, concerns the final boundaries of the proposed Segundo Barrio National Historic District.

One week ago, on a 3-2 vote with Judge Samaniego and Commissioner Stout dissenting, the Court voted to divide Segundo Barrio into two historic districts, with the western portion of the neighborhood annexed to the proposed Downtown National Historic District such that Sacred Heart Church and other key buildings will be excluded from the Segundo Barrio district.

Now the Court has the opportunity to rectify this error by voting to make certain that the boundaries of the Segundo Barrio National Historic District conform as closely as possible to the historic boundaries of the neighborhood, which was established circa 1885.

I have attached a map from this morning’s presentation detailing the plan that will be voted upon. The blue lines show the proposed Segundo Barrio National Historic District and the purple lines show the proposed Downtown National Historic District. Please note that some revisions have been made to so-called “Option 3” (see last week’s County PowerPoint on the topic) that would add an additional 19 contributing buildings plus Guillem Middle School to the proposed district.

Approximately 71% of the properties within the Segundo Barrio Historic District would be contributing, which is well above the 50% threshold that is required. Moreover, the project reviewer at the Texas Historical Commission has indicated in writing that any plan that meets this threshold will be acceptable, so there is no barrier to moving forward.

This plan is supported by the County Historical Commission, Preservation Texas (see attached), Sacred Heart Church (see below), and numerous other organizations and stakeholders. I also refer you the recent KTSM report on the topic.

The bottom line is that the people of Segundo Barrio deserve a historic district that respects their history and culture, and turning over half their neighborhood to “downtown” so that it closely conforms to the boundaries of the Downtown Management District is the wrong approach.

Downtown belongs in downtown and Segundo Barrio belongs in Segundo Barrio.


To participate in public comment for Item 6 please do the following NOW:

1.       Call 888-835-7276 (888-8EL-PASO) on Monday, June 22, 2020 at about 9:00 am

2.      Leave a message with your 1) name, 2) title/organization, and 3) indicate that you would like to provide public comment on Item 6

3.      Tune in to Commissioners Court on YouTube via this link:

4.      You will receive a call back from the clerks/IT at approximately 10 am or so from either a (915), (469), or (439) area code – please answer

5.      When you are connected please introduce yourself to the court and be sure to MUTE your computer/TV if you are watching the YouTube feed

Max Grossman, PhD

Executive Board, Preservation Texas

Vice-Chair, The Trost Society