Dear Friends and Media,

The next County Commissioners Court meeting is set for Monday at 9:30am and the agenda has been posted. Item 12 calls for discussion and action to establish the boundaries of the  proposed Segundo Barrio National Historic District and the Downtown National Historic District.

On June 15 the Commissioners Court voted 3-2, with Judge Samaniego and Commissioner Stout dissenting, to divide Segundo Barrio in two. That plan, dubbed “Option 2”, was recommended by County staff and would have placed the western half of the neighborhood–including Sacred Heart Church and more than 200 other historic buildings–within the Downtown district rather than the Segundo Barrio district.

On June 22 the Commissioners Court rejected an alternative plan, the so-called “Option 3”, which would have established a much larger Segundo Barrio National Historic District conforming to the neighborhood’s proper historical and cultural boundaries. This is the plan supported by the residents of Segundo Barrio as well as Sacred Heart Church, the Diocese of El Paso, Centro De Salud Familiar La Fe, South Side Neighborhood Association, and all the key historical groups–including Preservation Texas, the El Paso County Historical Commission, and El Paso County Historical Society–and the Chair of the Historic Landmark Commission of the City of El Paso. A petition with 2,000 signatures supports Option 3.

The public outcry over Option 2 and the media coverage were so intense that the County decided to consider the matter a third time, this coming Monday, June 29.

I just learned that County staff will now be backing Option 3 (now renamed Option 3A) instead of Option 2! This version includes all 677 historic properties in Segundo Barrio and fully respects its historical and cultural boundaries.

The only historic property that will be excluded is Guillen Middle School, which was not included in the 2017 architectural survey so it cannot be considered at this time; but the County will be recommending that it be annexed to the district in the future.

​I have attached to this email a map of Option 3A and the PowerPoint that will be presented on Monday. I am very happy with these and sincerely hope that the three Commissioners who voted against Option 3 last week will vote for Option 3A this coming Monday.

Please write to the County Commissioners Court and Economic Development if you support establishing a Segundo Barrio National Historic District that conforms closely to its historic and cultural boundaries. Tell them you support Option 3A, to be voted upon Monday under agenda item 12.;;;;;;


To participate in public comment for Item 12 please do the following:

1.       Call 888-835-7276 (888-8EL-PASO) on Monday, June 29, 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 12

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

4.      You will receive a call back from the clerks/IT when the item is up 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

6.      Provide Public Comment and Please ask the court to approve Option 3A with the addition of Guillen School.

7.      Thank you!


In my previous email I related how in 2006 there was a City plan, backed by the Paso del Norte Group, to raze a large portion of western Segundo Barrio, dubbed the “Golden Horseshoe.” I also provided a link to a video shot by Dr. David Romo in which City officials tried to convince barrio residents that the plan was in their best interest. I neglected to state that the Paso del Sur group conducted the research on the 2006 plan and that Dr. Romo was and is a member of that group, which was instrumental in fighting the plan and saving the barrio from the developers.

Enjoy your weekend.


Max Grossman, PhD

Executive Board, Preservation Texas

Vice-Chair, The Trost Society