In El Paso, the sound of over 70 protesters chanting “fuera ahora” – get out now – replaced the mechanical creaks of demolition machines on Tuesday morning in the downtown neighborhood of Duranguito. An emergency court order has blocked demolition in the area. The order adds a new segment to a lengthy legal battle between the city and those who oppose development in El Paso’s oldest neighborhood.
The El Paso Times’ Elida Perez says that historic preservationist Max Grossman, taking the lead in the legal fight against the city’s demolition efforts, filed for a last-minute temporary restraining order on Monday, preventing demolition from proceeding. However, the fine print of the order didn’t specify that the contractors needed to suspend the demolition permits that had already been issued. Private property owners and contractors took that oversight as an opportunity and began demolitions early Tuesday morning.
Perez says that the issue of development in Duranguito can be boiled down to two sides: those who are against development in the downtown area and are pushing for its historic preservation, and those who want to see larger projects built, in an attempt to draw tourism, businesses, and economic development to downtown.
Written by Rachel Zein.