Building a Community: Part 3


By Kimberly Rene’ Vanecek

While residents passed propositions earlier this year that will make way for new growth in the city, it specifically paved the road for the development of a new multipurpose arena and a children’s museum. Ricardo Fernandez, a member of The Arts and Culture task force with the Borderplex Alliance questions, “Could this be El Paso’s chance to step up to the plate and use its voice to support a call to architects to design one of the two new venues?” Kroloff added, “Whichever building you choose, create something new, something different, but do it right. You only have one chance, go all out! If it were the last building, what do you want it to say?”

Architectural competitions are no stranger to El Paso; the Sun City held a “Request for Proposal” and a “Request for Qualifications” for the Plaza Theatre renovations. The city wanted to know the experience and qualifications for parties desiring to participate.

Former city planner Nestor Valencia states, “Experience and track records on the building for which you are selecting a firm is crucial. We asked many questions, including quality of work, satisfaction, ability to work with people and the community, etc. etc. Competition among firms is fierce, and all stops are pulled to win the project.”

The Arts and Culture task force from the Borderplex Alliance, Denise Fernandez, and Marcella Fernandez sponsored a luncheon at the El Paso Club where Krolloff spoke to community leaders; he went on to say that resident’s input should be addressed when El Paso chooses a design. Lorey follows suit, “I would encourage the city to hold meetings in neighborhoods surrounding the suggested venue and listen to any concerns or opinions they might have.” Kroloff then added, “Bring in the architects to meet them. Have them present their renditions like they did in New York. You have to do this where there is a lot of traffic so the residents can easily access the projects.”

The economic impact the High Line produced is astounding. The urban park generated a spur in real estate development in the areas that run along the line creating over 12,000 new jobs, residential real estate witnessed a boost in property values almost doubling. 10th Avenue, where the railway hugs, is now host to 4.4 million visitors a year.

Now it’s El Paso’s turn to talk. What do you want for the city?

Photographed by Laura Bustillos