City calls for stakeholder meeting to determine Lost Dog preservation costs

El Paso News

City leaders and local activists are questioning the price tag to preserve the land near the Lost Dog Trail in west El Paso and how tax-payers from around the city could pay for it.

Some city representatives are calling for everyone involved in preserving about 1,100 acres of land near the trail.

“At the end of the day, everyone is claiming something different. The only way to make this thing truly go is to bring them all together,” City Representative Sam Morgan said.

City staff has estimated the cost at about 11.3 million dollars but preservationists said it should not cost that much.

“There’s very little expenses with preserving this. All they need to do is reimburse the original purchase price from 1955, which was $9.27 an acre, and the cost of maintenances that have occurred over the past 30-40 years,” preservationist Rick Bonart said.

Some city representatives worry over what the cost could mean to those living in other parts of the city.

“They feel at the end of the day, it’s going to fall on them to subsidize something that’s on the west side. That’s why it’s so important that, when I’m talking about these concerns that I’m raising, I want to make sure that people from other parts of town have a seat at the table,” City Representative Claudia Ordaz-Perez said.

The stakeholder committee has 90 days to bring to council recommendations for moving forward.

“It’s not as easy and cut and dry as everyone feels. Because this was a citywide election, it doesn’t work like that,” Morgan added, “It’s not like whoever is on the west side is going to pay for it. The bottom line is the city as a whole has to pay for it hence the importance of this committee.”

A city spokesperson told the El Paso Times last month the 11 million dollar figure is based on an appraisal done in 2017, and those costs would need to be paid to the public service board.

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