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EPWU, City Collaboration Could Make Hundreds Of Acres Accessible To Public

For those who enjoy what nature has to offer the Southwest, then the Franklin Mountains State Park is a common place to visit.

Access to the area is what officials with the El Paso Water Utility say stops many from visiting the area.

A unanimous decision between the EPWU and the City of El Paso could free up 800 acres of open space in Northwest El Paso for outdoor enthusiasts.

Development for residential areas are expected to go up in the near future, but it’s the open space nearby that officials want to make readily accessible for the public.

Officials with EPWU are calling this area of northwest El Paso “utility green space” — an area of protected or conserved land where any kind of development is controlled so the natural spaces are not disturbed.

“By deeding this land to the Franklin Mountains State Park, it creates unique opportunities to create access points into the park for the public to walk the trails, investigate the area, look at all the vegetation and look at all the wildlife in the area,” said Patricia Adauto, a consultant for EPWU.

Adauto said handing the land to the state would keep it better maintained because they have the means and expertise to preserve the hundreds of acres.

Although some residents said they like the idea, others said people still don’t recognize the treasure in our own backyard.

“People don’t bask in nature anymore, it’s more of the urbanized world right now. I think people should concentrate more on the wildlife,” said Andres Villanueva.

The next step for the plan goes to City Council on July 17.

“We’re hoping now our elected officials will take our recommendations so we can move forward,” said Adauto.

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