El Paso Star Damaged

POSTED: Thursday, December 10, 2009 - 7:00am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 2:25pm

The wind that damaged homes and highways also wreaked havoc on an El Paso landmark. The Star on the Mountain took some hits, and it's not going to be an easy fix.

"To me, this is kind of personal," said caretaker Paul Terry. "I've been doing this for almost eight years up here. It's like someone beating up your child."

We got up close and personal with the Star on the Mountain. It's easy to see the damage: 250 light bulbs blown out in yesterday's storm. Some of the plastic coverings were damaged, some of the bulbs were blown from the wire all together and they have problems with the electrical stringers.

"It's basically swung itself to death at this point," said Terry.

We're talking about $6,000 to $8,000 worth of damage.

"We've had a lot of windstorms," Terry remembers. "I mean we've lost over a hundred bulbs before, but this is probably the worst damage that I've ever seen up here."

The plan is to wait for a new shipment of bulbs, that might arrive this weekend. Terry says a three man crew will take a minimum of three days to repair it and that's not an easy task on the steep rocky slope. Right now, there are no plans to change it or make the star more durable.

"If we put something in that had rigid stringers, you would look at probably between a half million and three quarter of a million dollar investment," Terry explains.

It should be okay. The star's been here since the mid 50s. Don't expect to see it light up again until all the damage is repaired.

NewsChannel 9 knows, in the eyes of many El Pasoans, the star is more than a just a part of El Paso. It should be shining down on us once again in about a week.

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