UT Austin group studies El Paso architecture; visits Downtown Deck Plaza study area
Editor's Note: A TxDot spokesperson responded to this story: "TxDOT plans are not final and while we plan to not preclude a deck plaza in our design, we are not the entity proposing a deck plaza. We are working to modernize I-10 and will work with deck plaza plans providing they can come up with funding for it."
EL PASO, Texas - A group of students and a professor from the University of Texas at Austin are in El Paso to study local architecture and view the site of the proposed Downtown Deck Plaza.
The group started their visit Monday at Scenic Drive and made their way to Sunset Heights, the neighborhood north of I-10 that could be impacted by relocation and eminent domain if TxDOT's plan to rebuild the freeway moves forward. While critics contend the proposed expansion of I-10 from Copia St. to Executive Center Blvd. will not alleviate congestion, TxDOT says the freeway needs to be resurfaced and multiple bridges don't meet federal height standards anymore. The plan has not been finalized.
As ABC-7 has reported, a group of community leaders is hoping the massive project will be a catalyst for a deck park, similar to Dallas' Klyde Warren Park, to enhance quality of life and stitch Sunset Heights and Downtown together.
The UT students were tasked with preparing architectural presentations for El Paso's proposed deck park as part of their masters class, but their visit went beyond the asphalt that snakes next to downtown.
They visited the border wall, Mount Cristo Rey, the nearby dinosaur tracks as well as the historic Chihuahuita neighborhood and sites under restoration near the Duranguito area. They finished their tour of Downtown El Paso by visiting San Jacinto Plaza and the Weststar building.
The group was led by UT professor Adam Barbe and former El Paso first lady Adair Margo.