EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Friday morning, El Paso County Commissioner David Stout announced that the federal government approved the Segundo Barrio Historic District application, placing nearly 700 structures on the National Register of Historic Places.

The application, which was filed by El Paso County, took more than two years of work.

“We expected this application to be approved, but it’s still amazing to see it actually realized. This is a significant and exciting County achievement,” said El Paso County Commissioner David Stout.

“Meanwhile, however, the Downtown Historic District application is with the National Park Service in a sort of limbo. It meets all the criteria, but because more than 50 percent of property owners, by a very slim margin, oppose the district, it has not been approved.”

County officials share that nationally designated Historic Districts come with no property rights restrictions, but they do provide financing tools that give property owners incentives to renovate their properties.

“I hope that once property owners Downtown see how it works in the Segundo Barrio district, they will withdraw their objections, which are based on misinformation about their property rights in a nationally recognized historic district…Meanwhile, I’m very happy to be able to celebrate the recognition by the
federal government of the importance of the Segundo Barrio.”

El Paso County Commissioner David Stout

Certain restrictions on the property do apply if, and only if, property owners decide to use those financing tools, typically tax credits.

Preservationist Max Grossman found out about the approval Friday morning and shared his thoughts.

I am overjoyed to report that the Segundo Barrio National Register Historic District was established by the National Park Service on November 3…”

Grossman went on to praise Commissioner Stout on his work on the project.

“Thanks in large part to his steadfast determination and absolute commitment to historic preservation, the project for the Segundo Barrio is now a reality…”

With the approval, which will be formally published November 15 by the National Park Service, there will be 686 individually listed and contributed properties in the Segundo Barrio.

It’s hard to imagine a place more fundamental to El Paso’s identity than the Segundo Barrio, which was wild,
natural space only 150 years ago. From the application, speaking of Segundo Barrio in the 1850s, “Segundo Barrioremained marked as “bosque”—or forest habitat found along flood plains of streams and rivers in the Southwest—on the plat map.”

But by the turn of the century, development was taking place. For more than 100 years, it has served as the “Ellis Island of the Southwest,” welcoming countless immigrants from Mexico and all over the world.

El Paso County Commissioner David Stout

Officials say that the details and more information will be announced via a County press conference to
be held on Monday, November 8th, 2021.

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