EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The El Paso County Commissioners Court has big plans for Ascarate Park and intends on improving the property.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego says the county is developing a masterplan for the park and there is an interest to rename the golf course after the late Federal Judge Philip Martinez.
“The idea, one very important thing is, we never touch the name Ascarate. That would be my preference that the family name remain. It’s very important,” Samaniego said. “We’re just trying to see, get a feel, for whether or not we can create an image of a new situation.”
Precinct 2 commissioner David Stout, who represents the area where the park is, asked for the county to include the public in the renaming of the park.
“This is the first time I hear about this idea,” Stout said. “It’s a little bit concerning to me because I feel like, this is an area I represent, this is an area that I’ve worked on very hard over the last couple of years. And, I know I am not the last to found out but it sure feels like it.”
Covering 400 acres of land, the area was named for Mexican General Juan Ascarate, and was granted to El Paso County in the 1930’s. The park received upgrades as part of President Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, which were completed in 1940.
The park was briefly the center of auto and boat racing for the Borderland, housing a grand prix track, quarter-mile drag strip, a racing oval and drag boat course on the lake; all used in one form or another through the 1970’s.
The park also housed Western Playland, and has been the site of numerous concerts, tournaments and family gatherings.
In 2015 the park was recognized by the county as a historic landmark.