EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The neighborhood of Duranguito hosted a block party on Saturday, Feb. 4 to celebrate the City Council decision to not have the proposed Downtown arena project built in the neighborhood. Duranguito was filled with live music, vendors and dozens of people out there celebrating El Paso’s first neighborhood.

Many organizations were out in the neighborhood as well, including Carmen Rodriguez with the Community First Coalition. Rodriguez spoke about seeing the community come together after years of struggle to keep the neighborhood alive.

“There’s been so many people. It’s been such a long struggle and people have come in and out and it’s like a big reunion because a lot of people have helped in different ways so it’s wonderful to see everyone here today,” she said.

City Representative for District 2 Alexsandra Annello was also in attendance for the celebration. Annello was one of the members of City Council who voted to have the proposed project moved outside of Duranguito.

While City Council continues to have conversations about where the project is going to be placed, Annello says the goal was to always save Duranguito. For the next steps, council will look into giving the neighborhood historic delegation while trying to open it up to the community, she said.

“There are individuals that still live right here. They still need their trash picked up. They still need to be connected to the world, so really making sure we’re securing these buildings and we’re getting these fences pushed back in the sidewalks and buildings,” Annello said.

Bringing Duranguito back to life will take time before it can become what the community wants it to be. However, Cynthia Renteria, who is a member of Paso del Sur, believes that first El Paso needs to remember its past before moving to its future.

“It is very important not just to El Paso, but this is the place really where the world has met the border and this was El Paso’s first neighborhood so this history belongs to all of us.”

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