EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — It’s the finish line for two pieces of open space land in El Paso by receiving the seal of extra protection against any development.
After the last few years, the work to officially add an extra layer of protection for the Lost Dog Trail area in the Northwest and Knapp Land in the Northeast is finally coming to fruition through conservation easements.
“I think the City has come to realize, this is what people actually want. The usership out there is reflective of what people actually want,” said Rick Bonart, the manager for the Lost Dog Trail campaign.
A long journey accomplished. On Tuesday, El Paso City Council supported the final readings of ordinances that authorizes the conservation easements for Lost Dog property and Knapp property. This essentially locks in the protection for the land to be preserved as open space forever.
“This has been a tremendous opportunity for residents and institutions to collaborate to better our city through bold, progressive action,” said City Rep. Peter Svarzbein. “This is something that’s made me truly happy to see these projects come to fruition.”
The conservation easement is between the City of El Paso, El Paso Water and the Frontera Land Alliance.
The City and El Paso Water says it’s responsible for maintenance, upkeep and restoring any damages. However, won’t be legally or financially responsible for act of a third party.
“The City cannot identify a third party that goes out there and builds a new trail, that dumps trash or tires if you will. So we can’t be legally responsible for that as a grand tour, however, we are responsible to go out there and restore, maintain and upkeep the property in coordination with Frontera Land Alliance,” explained City Engineer Sam Rodriguez.
Local land preservationists, expecting the conservation easements to hold true after working on protecting the open space areas from any development.
“This is the first initiative petition that’s come to fruition in the history of El Paso,” said Bonart. “It’s where the citizens said they wanted to do something, and I feel that my job along with responsibility at this point in time is to make sure that they get what they wanted. What they have a reasonable expectation to get and not just some half-baked plan.”
The Public Service Board is expected to return in 60 days to City Council with its maintenance plan for the Lost Dog trail property.