Juarez puts celebration for new tourist attraction on hold due to lingering coronavirus fears

Border Report

"Path of Lights" finished, but American visitors still not welcome; Mayor hopes to hold grand opening by year's end

JUAREZ, Mexico (Border Report) — The Mayor of Juarez hopes to flip the switch on a new tourist attraction before year’s end — but so far the coronavirus has put the celebration of the project’s completion on hold.

The $3 million Paseo de las Luces, or Path of Lights, was completed last month along Juarez Avenue.

The street leading to the Paso del Norte U.S. port of entry now features sidewalks lined with arches, new pavestone, more trees and signature overhead lights. It mirrors a similar effort along El Paso Street in South El Paso inaugurated in November 2018.

The idea is to provide an attractive lighted pathway from Downtown El Paso to Downtown Juarez.

“The project has been completed. It was a promise we made to the citizens of both Juarez and El Paso, a community that is itself a shining example of unity,” Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada said.

Trees and overhead lighting now line Juarez Avenue, the main gateway from Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas. (Border Report Photo/Julian Resendiz)

The mayor said he had hoped to have a groundbreaking ceremony featuring guests from El Paso shortly after completion. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has put that on hold.

The United States is enforcing non-essential travel restrictions at its borders and Juarez is asking tourists not to come yet, so as to not bring or take back the coronavirus.

Juarez Mayor Armando Cabada

“We will do it as soon as health conditions allow. I hope it will happen this year,” Cabada said on Friday. “I have faith that, with discipline and hard work on the part of the people of Juarez, we will be able to go from ‘yellow’ to ‘green’ and have the type of celebratory event the project deserves.

The colors refer to Mexico’s coronavirus threat designation and restrictions. Juarez just this week moved to “yellow” threat level and allowed for a limited reopening of all of its businesses and churches. “Green” means back to normal, with some yet-to-be-announced restrictions.

The “Path of Lights” has been a dream floated around in both El Paso and Juarez political circles for decades. It’s ultimate purpose is to draw tourists to both cities and present a positive image on both sides of the border.

Juarez, in particular, is trying to overcome the stigma of drug cartel activity. Murders have spiked noticeably in the past two years but officials insist the violence is mostly street gang warfare contained to working-class neighborhoods few Americans would venture to.

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