Dear Media and Friends,

I am overjoyed to report that the Segundo Barrio National Register Historic District was established by the National Park Service on November 3, although I just learned about it!

This morning I received an email from Paul Lusignan, who is the Historian for the National Register of Historic Places responsible for all applications from Texas, and he forwarded me the list below. I spoke to him on the phone, and he confirmed the news.

The new listing will not be formally published by the NPS on their website until November 15.

Until November 3, there was only one building in the entire barrio on the National Register of Historic Places, but now there are 686 individually listed and contributing properties!

Hundreds of buildings within the new district will be eligible for generous state and federal tax credits for restoration and rehabilitation, and this promises to improve the appearance and quality of life of the neighborhood very significantly.I am co-chairing the effort, together with Fr. Raphael Garcia, to restore Sacred Heart Church, which will be the first restoration project within the Segundo Barrio to benefit from the tax credits.

The project began back in 2014, when I was Vice-Chair of the El Paso County Historical Commission and started a collaboration with Providencia Velazquez, the City Historic Preservation Officer. Ultimately the City rejected conducting an architectural survey of downtown and the urban barrios on a 6-2 vote in July 2015 and returned $71,000 in grants it had won to support the project. I then brought the project to El Paso County, which took it up and voted 5-0 in February 2016 to proceed with the survey. Valerie Venecia, the Heritage Tourism Coordinator for the County, has been in charge of executing the project. The architectural survey was completed in 2017, and this led to the nominations for the Segundo Barrio and Downtown. The latter nomination is still unresolved.

I am hopeful that the County, which applied for the Segundo Barrio designation, will hold a press conference this afternoon. I will let you know asap.

This is such exciting news for El Paso!