Monday, February 8, 2016
Commissioner's Court Gets It Right
Members of the El Paso County Historical Commission (Facebook) and their supporters have much to celebrate today. The County Commissioner's Court approved unanimously a motion made by Commissioner David Stout to fund an historic survey of several areas in El Paso including downtown. The survey will not force owners to do anything to their buildings. However, should they want to renovate and keep the historic integrity of their buildings, they can count on state and federal incentives.
Last July City Council just did not get this. They rejected a similar proposal which also included a $56,000 grant to cover the costs of the survey. That grant is no longer available but that did not stop the Commissioners from funding a survey up to $140,000.
County Judge Escobar praised the Historic Commission and thanked Stout for his work in bringing the proposal before the Court.
The Vice-Chair of the El Paso County Historical Commission, Max Grossman, released this statement to elpasonaturally:
"This victory is a huge win for the City and County of El Paso. Our plan will incentivize historic preservation rather than mandate it. The federal and state tax credits, which are extraordinarily generous, will be so attractive to real estate investors that they will want to restore their assets rather than demolish them. If the successes of these credits in other Texas cities are any indication of what we can expect in El Paso, our downtown economy is about to take off. Moreover, the downtown national historic district that will soon be established will drive heritage tourism, the fastest growing sector of our state's tourism economy. Yesterday's unanimous vote gave us enormous satisfaction, and we look forward to partnering with the County until this project is complete."