EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Voters overwhelmingly decided to preserve hundreds of acres of Northwest El Paso open space land permanently.
“So many of the people of El Paso came forward and were determined that their voice be heard,” said Sharon Bonart. She helped run the Save Lost Dog Campaign.the lost dog trail forever.
But what happens now?
The City of El Paso said the first step is to pay for the land of the Lost Dog Trail.
The Assistant Director of Economic and International Development for City of El Paso, Elizabeth Triggs, said a cost about $11.3 million will be paid to the El Paso Water Utility based on market value.
“So the land is actually owned by the City of El Paso. However, the water utility holds it in trust which means it basically controls the land,” Triggs said. “And they do that across the city. They have thousands and thousands of acres that they control. and what they do is they use it if we need it for our water system.”
Triggs said the money to buy the land could come from different areas.
“One is part of the quality of life bond that was approved in 2012 there was $5 million set aside in that bond specifically for open space. That’s one potential funding source,” Triggs said. “Another the water utility has talked about as part of our water bill, a portion of the revenue from that water bill goes to stormwater open space acquisitions.”
Triggs said the El Paso City Council still needs to set up meetings and negotiate before a final price is determined.
“It’s a new situation and that’s something City Council and the water utility will have to work out over the next couple of months,” said Triggs.
Preservationists said saving the land was a community effort.
“It just makes me really happy,” Bonart said. “If we can do something to help make El Paso healthier and wealthier, great.”