We wrote in an earlier article (“Save the ASARCO Stacks–Create a Sustainable Future“) of the historical and economic importance of preserving the smoke stacks associated with the now closed industrial complex just off Interstate-10 near downtown El Paso, TX. We discussed possible mixed uses of the property, including academic research, a “Green Technology” research park, an international cultural heritage museum, and outdoor recreational uses of the property all centered around the cultural and historical heritage represented by the stacks. A small, non-profit organization—Save the Stacks –has led the fight to keep these iconic structures as part of our border skyline. Made up of concerned El Pasoans with no political or commercial interests in the stacks or the approximate 400 acres on which they stand, Save the Stacks has advocated using the stacks as part of a monument dedicated to all the individuals impacted by the regional industries and activities represented by them. However their backs are against the proverbial “wall” as they must convince authorities to stop current plans for the stacks imminent demolition in early April. This is the last chance to save the stacks or they will be destroyed and a bit of our border’s history lost forever! Continue reading
A number of developments have ocurred since the publication of our post on July 19th, “Build It and They Will Come”. Apparently, opposition to tearing down City Hall in order to build a new Triple-A baseball stadium has led to new efforts related to the Quality of Life bond as well as groups looking to petition a referendum on the entire issue. Some of the stories:
- New PAC to promote quality of life bond, Opposition to Downtown Ballpark speeds up plan— Organizers are accelerating efforts to form a political action committee to back the proposed $468-million quality of life bond, concerned that growing opposition to a new Downtown ballpark might spill over into the bond election. Story by Bob Gray, El Paso, Inc. July 29-Aug 4, 2012.
- Petition seeks vote on ballpark, quality-of-life plans–A petition submitted to the city on Tuesday by a local group is proposing an initiative that could have ramifications for the $50 million Downtown ballpark approved earlier by the City Council.The group, Quality of Life Voters for Democracy, was spurred to gather signatures for the petition by the lack of involvement in the decision to approve the Downtown ballpark.They submitted more than 2,300 signatures to the city clerk and ask that all quality-of-life projects get voter approval before the City Council funds them. The petition also states that change be retroactive to June 26, when the Downtown ballpark was approved by a 6-2 City Council vote.–Story By Evan Mohl El Paso Times, 08/01/2012
- Paul Foster: Baseball almost a done deal—Events surrounding El Paso’s efforts to bring Triple-A baseball to the city are moving fast. This week, the city received formal notification from the Pacific Coast League that it had approved MountainStar Sports Group’s purchase of a team. Though the team has not officially been named because the parties are bound by confidentiality agreements, it is known that MountainStar is attempting to buy the Tucson Padres for $20 million and bring the team to El Paso and a stadium the city has committed to build–Story by David Crowder, El Paso, Inc. July 29-Aug 4, 2012
El Paso very close to Triple-A baseball—City manager: Deal is ‘moving forward’–The sounds, fun and excitement of Triple-A baseball is close, very close, to coming to El Paso.
On Monday, the Pacific Coast League, one of three leagues that play Triple-A baseball, informed the city that the league had approved the sale of a team to a group of local investors known as MountainStar Sports Group of El Paso.
The letter sent to City Manager Joyce Wilson says, in effect, that the sale of a team to the El Paso group is all but a formality.
“Basically, they’ve given approval to close the transaction,” Wilson said. “It’s pretty clear the next phase is kind of a formality. It’s moving forward.”–Story By Bret Bloomquist El Paso Times, Aug 1, 2012
A final note: A careful view of the artist’s rendition of the proposed stadium shows that the fans along the first base line are in for an additional treat–that section of the stadium apparently sits directly over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks! Should make for an interesting afternoon and/or evening.–Paul Maxwell
The old Asarco smelter and refinery located directly on our Texas border with Mexico and closed nearly a decade ago continues generating controversy as regional leaders look at how to “dispose” of this property, including its iconic stacks. It needs to be viewed in its historical context in order to understand how best to utilize the opportunity presented by the land and assets of the now defunct El Paso plant. In large measure much of what is El Paso today, its industry, its relationship to Mexico as a major corridor of trade, the creation of UTEP and much of the wealth generated over the past century in our region is due to the presence of Asarco and the related mining and metallurgical interests of the Paso del Norte and Chihuahua region. UTEP, for example, was first conceived and created in 1914 as the Texas School of Mines and Metallurgy to create the necessary manpower to support the growing mining and metallurgical interests of Northern Mexico and later the US desert southwest. From the 1920’s through the 1950’s and early 1960’s El Paso was considered to be one of the richest cities in the Southwest, surpassing Phoenix, San Antonio, Austin and many others. This wealth was ascribed to the “three C’s…Cotton, Cattle and Copper, the later, of course, being the processing of copper (and lead) carried out by Asarco and other companies in the region. Obviously, a hundred years later matters have changed Continue reading