El Paso judge lifts Duranguito demolition ban

El Paso News
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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – An El Paso judge has decided not to renew the temporary injunction order preventing the demolition of the historic Duranguito neighborhood, meaning the city can raze the land, according to court documents.

El Paso Judge Patrick Garcia, of the 384th District Court, issued the decision Thursday afternoon, two days after lawyers from both the City of El Paso and preservationist Max Grossman laid out their arguments.

“This Court has considered Plaintiffs Application for Temporary Injunction and after hearing the evidence presented, arguments of counsel and reviewing the pleadings in this matter, finds the Application should be denied,” the ruling stated.

The ruling opens the door for Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc., the firm hired by the City of El Paso, to conduct an archeological study.

“The archival and historical research has been conducted; the next phase is the ground-penetrating radar survey and this phase includes demolition activity,” the city said in the release. “Discoveries will be handled in accordance with state law.”

Grossman told KTSM he had no comment at this time and later sent an email out stating: “Today we received an adverse ruling from Judge Patrick Garcia of the 384th District Court. We have filed a motion for relief with the 8th Court of Appeals in El Paso and will not comment until tomorrow.”

The city also sent a response.

“The City continues to obtain favorable rulings in the lawsuits filed by the opposition,” said City Attorney Karla Nieman in a City news release. “However as expected the opposition has filed an appeal and continues to delay this project through the court system, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.”

This is a key ruling in the never-ending legal battle over the Duranguito neighborhood and the proposed Downtown multi-purpose arena.

Grossman, who’s been legally fighting the arena for years now with appeals and lawsuits, said there may be Apache artifacts existing in the Duranguito neighborhood that need to be considered.

“We now have an unprecedented opportunity to explore this culture to preserve this site for posterity, this is part of El Paso’s history, it’s an entire chapter that’s never been written, it is critically important moreover the architecture above ground is equally important,” Grossman said earlier this week.

However, the City attorneys maintained demolition of the buildings can be completed without impacting any potential subsequent artifacts.

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