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New pedestrian pathway slated for Downtown El Paso

It’ll get easier to navigate downtown on foot, according to some city officials.

City Council on Tuesday approved a pedestrian pathway which will connect the Union Plaza entertainment district to the Arts Festival Plaza, where the History Museum is located.

The pedestrian route will also have a way to get to the convention center and the new baseball stadium.

The project is part of the Quality of Life Bond El Paso voters overwhelmingly approved in November.

The plan made some Union Plaza business owners happy.

“I’ve been looking forward to this project for quite some time now. one of the issues that we have as a business owner is the accessibility to union plaza especially with the hotels being located so close to where we’re at. most of our patrons are from out of town that are usually doing business downtown that find it very difficult to get where we’re at,” said Norbert Portillo, the owner of tapas restaurant, Tabla.

Others raised concerns the pathway will only benefit the baseball stadium.

“Let’s be honest. This is for the ballpark. To me it looks like you all have just repackaged it, put it in a different box, put a different bow on it and say it’s okay,” government watchdog Lisa Turner told council.

City Manager Joyce Wilson said the Quality of Life bond specifically listed pedestrian connectivity between the two areas.

“Part of it is for the ballpark but the bulk of it was designed early on to connect union depot entertainment district to the arts festival plaza and provide an easy pedestrian crossing,” she said.

Local contractor Quantum will be handling the construction, which will begin in September and will be completed in phases until February 2015. The total cost will be $568,992, according to city officials.

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