EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – City of El Paso dropped the lawsuit to build the multipurpose arena in Duranguito neighborhood giving the residents a clear message that the neighborhood is theirs.

Since 2006 the arena has been in plan to rise in the Duranguito neighborhood and after 2016, voters solidified that decision.

Years of litigation between the city of El Paso and residents backed up with local historians and activists has now come to an end.

“It’s a big victory for the community,” said David Romo, a local historian and activist in Paso Del Sur.

Romo was an expert witness in the litigation where he presented his study proving that Duranguito is a historical site having once been an Apache peace camp.

He believed the city never had sufficient arguments in winning the litigation.

City’s decision to drop the lawsuit came after the newly formed City Council voted to scratch the arena project in Duranguito beginning of January.

 “I think there is also good will on these new members, on these city representatives that are willing to work with us rather than against us,” said Romo.

During the city council’s vote on January 3, District 3 Representative Cassandra Hernandez voted against nixing the arena project in Duranguito.

Hernandez said city has already spent too much money over the years to not act on it now.

“Millions of dollars were spent not only on acquiring the properties, on relocation of some families that have chosen to leave and then also all the cost, the cost the real estate cost and the attorney fees,” she explained.

Latest expense was a feasibility study conducted in 2022 by a company based in San Francisco.

The city spent close to $800,000 on the study, that now seems to have been in vain.

Representative Hernandez said that the new proposal for the arena to be built in Duranguito included both the multi-purpose center and historical aspects of the neighborhood combined.

Romo, however said, the community was not contacted for the feasibility study, though they played a big part in locating the historical sites and pointing out the historical facts.

Now that the arena will not be built, Romo said Paso Del Sur already has a complete plan on what they want done with the neighborhood.

“The Japanese have this art called kintsugi. And they’ll have fragments of broken teacups, and they’ll glue them with golden epoxy. And that way the history and the character are a part of the story. This place is the birthplace of El Paso,” Romo explained.

The plan was comunity generated and developed with young architects having in mind to make Duranguito a vibrant cultural heritage place, but also livable for El Pasoans of all incomes.

With residential buildings, Mexican Revolution museum, a community garden and local shops, the area is meant to become a tourist spot but also showcase why it is called “the birthplace of El Paso.”

“We want to heal what has been broken and there’s a lot of fixing up that needs to be done. We stopped the bulldozers, literally by standing in front of them and now it’s time to work for the rebirth of Duragnuito and this is our plan,” said Romo.

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