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J.P. Bryan, Max Grossman discuss Duranguito significance on radio show

Its been just days since the 8th Court of Appeals granted historic preservationist Max Grossman an emergency cease and desist order postponing demolition in the Duranguito neighborhood, where the city plans to build a multi-purpose center.

Saturday, while phoning in from Houston on the El Paso History Radio Show, the Texas oilman helping finance Grossman’s fight called the city’s decision to move forward with its plans destructive.

“What this is going to turn into is a historical Alamo,” J.P Bryan said. “This entire community is about to be destroyed just like those who occupied the Alamo.”

The show stayed away from discussion about the legal battle. It instead, focused on the neighborhood’s history.

Bryan said preserving the neighborhood makes great economic sense.

“You have got an absolute treasure trove of historically important assets that if restored and showcased in the proper way would bring financial benefits to El Paso that would endure for generations of years to come,” Bryan said.

Bryan and Grossman said it’s possible history is buried underneath the neighborhood. History that once belonged to Juan Maria Ponce de Leon, a prominent El Paso figure.

“The original ranch of 1827, the origins of what would become El Paso and the 1998 survey that J.P just alluded to cites 5 high probable archeological sights under the ground there including Ponce’s ranch,” Grossman said.

After the show, Grossman acknowledged the legal battle that’s played out. Along with the controversy, including protestors camping outside buildings after a construction crew broke holes in some of them. Grossman said he hopes police continue to watch the area until the next hearing, because he fears property owners would choose to demolish, despite the possibility of being fined, if officers weren’t there.

“A fine of a few thousand dollars seems to be a very small price to pay and we’re very worried about that,” Grossman said.

The city argues there is no historic designation in the area. Officials say they do not own the buildings and the owners can demolish if they want, because all paperwork is in order.

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