Council approves landscaping improvements in West El Paso, then reverses itself

Council approves landscaping improvements in West El Paso, then reverses itself

POSTED: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 9:17am

UPDATED: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 9:24am

El Paso City Council reversed a vote Tuesday for improvements along a stretch of Mesa Street in West El Paso.

The City representatives initially voted in favor of a contract for the installation of landscaping and pedestrian enhancements on Mesa between Camille Drive and Paragon Lane. According to City staff, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) would pay at least $1 million for the improvements on the condition that the City would then pay for the maintenance.

After passing the item as part of the council’s consent agenda, District 7 Representative Lily Limón asked that the city reps reconsider and postpone the item for one week.

Limón, who represents parts of East El Paso and the Lower Valley, expressed concern about how much the maintenance would cost the City and from where the funding would come.

“We’re being asked to approve an item and we don’t know how much it’s going to cost,” Limón said. “I think that’s very irresponsible on our part.”

Ted Marquez, Director of the City Transportation Department, told Limón his office estimated the maintenance for the project would cost roughly $130,000 next year and that the funding would be included as part of the Transportation Department’s 2015 budget proposal.

District 3 Rep. Emma Acosta wondered whether Sun Metro would help the Transportation Department offset some of the cost, since portions of the improvements would be installed near Sun Metro’s new rapid transit ‘Brio’ terminals.

Marquez said Sun Metro would contribute to the maintenance cost, though he did not have the exact breakdown.

Council eventually voted to postpone the item for one week to give Marquez the time to come up with the requested information.

Northeast El Paso Representative Carl Robinson said he supports the enhancements, particularly when an outside agency has offered to pick up the tab for installation.

“We have a choice: we can leave (the parkway) like it is because we don’t have the money to do (the improvements) ourselves, or we can get TxDOT to do it.”

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