Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Destruction in Arroyo Park

Dr. Billy Rogers must be spinning in his grave. A big fading sign by the tennis club reads "Billy Rogers Nature Preserve". It was installed by the Friends of the Arroyo. Along Robinson is another sign which is the official park sign. It reads "Billy Rogers Nature Preserve".

Nature Preserve? Not according to Joel M. Ehler who is adding a big structure on the bottom of the arroyo below his Rim Road property. To do the construction, the contractor carved a road straight down the hillside. A city official told me that "the conservation overlay for the neighborhood does not regulate viewshed/arroyo side." The question remains why Ehler does not have the sense of civic duty to preserve the arroyo. How will he remediate?

Nature Preserve? Not according to the El Paso Parks and Recreation Department. Also not according to the EPWU before they were confronted by neighbors. Here's the story:

EPWU has a right-of-way in the arroyo to work on a water line which supplies Upper Rim. Not only did they plow through their rightaway, they plowed a new road inside of the park destroying plants, the biocrust and wildlife. Rim Road Neighborhood Association leaders, Bob Brannon and Richard Teschner, protested and demanded at a meeting with the head of engineering at EPWU, Alan Shubert, that the land be put back the way that it was. EPWU agreed and has hired Mike Gaglio to remediate. Of course it will take generations to restore the biocrust, but at least the road can be erased and new vegetation planted all at EPWU's expense. One wonders, however, whether EPWU would have done anything to remediate had the neighborhood association not acted.

The ultimate culprit seems to be the Parks and Recreation Department which never came to the Rim Road Association (or any other stakeholders) about any work inside of the park in spite of a park partnership agreement which had been renewed by former President Richard Teschner. Parks and Rec ignored that agreement. Dr. Teschner, who is now the President of the Neighborhood Coalition Council, said: "This whole affair shows just how important neighborhood associations are." 

EPWU has agreed to to remediate since being confronted. Parks and Rec was negligent by not informing and working with the neighborhood association with whom they have an agreement. 

Again, will the City of El Paso and far too many El Pasoans ever come to value nature preserves, open spaces and our living, breathing, natural Chihuahuan Desert? Will they ever really care?


  1. Oh man! I am so glad you wrote about this! I was about to. This is MAJOR destruction. I can't even understand how they made the decision to do this. As if their house isn't large enough already. It pains me to see how they can just plowed though the preserve. Why does El Paso allow this? You're right. Will El Paso ever really care about our delicate Chihuahuan desert?

  2. I suggest that EPWU hire a full time urban biologist.