A court hearing concerning Duranguito has been canceled.
As KTSM has reported, activists have been demanding the protection of Duranguito, one of El Paso’s oldest neighborhoods.
According to a news release, preservationist Max Grossman and his legal team “conceded” and agreed to the following motions:
- The City’s Motion to dissolve the previously entered Temporary Agreed Order. Grossman had opposed dissolving the order.
- The City no longer has to provide a 14-day notice prior to demolition of structures with the MPC footprint
- The City’s Motion, also known as a Plea to the Jurisdiction, asking the Court to dismiss Grossman’s claim for declaratory judgment against the City including his claim for attorney’s fees against the City.
- They have agreed that the City of El Paso is not in violation of the Texas Antiquities code.
- The City’s Motion to deny Grossman’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order or a Temporary Injunction.
- The City is no longer prohibited from demolishing buildings or issuing demolition permits.
“How big of a grin do you want to see on my face?” Margo said on Thursday. “We are excited.”
Officials say that, in the Rule 11 agreement, the city confirmed that it would not begin demolition in the Duranguito neighborhood before Nov. 19.
Grossman and his attorneys are scheduled to make their arguments in an Austin court that week.
The war is not over, but the battles are being won,” Margo said.
Meanwhile, the city is moving forward with archeological digs in hopes of building a multi-purpose performing arts and entertainment center.
Last year, protestors intervened and a court of appeals issued an injunction against the demolition of Duranguito. After, Grossman filed a lawsuit asking the city be forced to designate properties in the downtown area as “historic.” In August, the Texas Supreme Court ruled in favor of the city.
Preservationists then filed an appeal.
KTSM spoke to Grossman and the city engineer in September about one of the reasons why the Duranguito neighborhood is so important.
“We know what is exactly beneath the neighborhood. It’s Ponce de Leons ranch. Ponce de Leon established his ranch in 1827. It is the earliest settlement north of the Rio Grande in what is El Paso, Texas,” said Grossman.
“Starting within the next couple of months there will be doing all the field work in the parking lots the public right of way. The second phase will be after the demolition of the structures are complete. At that point we will be completing the study and forward it to the Texas Historical Commission,” said Sam Rodriguez. He is an El Paso City Engineer.
If artifacts are found the city said those will be turned over to a repository museum. In this case, it would be the Centennial Museum at UTEP.
Read the court documents here: