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People, Places & Paul: Revitalization of Downtown El Paso

EL PASO, TX (KVIA) -- From taking in game or concert at Southwest Community Park... to strolling through a renovated San Jacinto Plaza... to jumping on the reinstated trollies... to chillin' with friends on a rooftop deck at some of the borderland's social hot spots, downtown El Paso has gone through numerous changes over the last decade.

On a personal note, been such an exciting experience for -me- to be back in the borderland and re-live all of the amazing additions to the "915".

"Every very great city and community across the country has great downtowns," said Josh Hunt, the Executive Director of Mountainstar Sports Group.

From on top of the tallest building in El Paso (The Weststar high rise), Hunt chatted with me about the number of new downtown venues, and the continued revitalization of downtown El Paso. 

"This (Weststar high rise is) the first high rise in 40 years," said Hunt, "and I think its a new landmark for our downtown,  I hope we see more projects of this size and scope in downtown in years to come." 

The Weststar building, completed in 2021 rivals the re-opened Plaza Hotel and Paso Del Norte Hotel, which was named the "Camino Real" when I left El Paso ten years ago!

Dozens of stories below my lookout point on the high rise, I peered in awed of another investment Josh Hunt and his management group have collaborated on to bring more families to the city's center.  Hunt explained:

"What's going to be the end outcome, is a 75 million dollar children's science museum that's going to have 40 million dollars of public money and 35 million in private money. Just like the ball park, it's a public-private partnership. And, I think that's a way to deliver excellence to this community."

Hunt and his management group played a major part in bringing us the El Paso Chiihuahuas professional baseball team, and  building the state of the art Southwest University Stadium that's also home to the Locomotive pro soccer squad.

"It won ballpark of the year so I think working in partnership with the city, we did a good job in building a first class-facility, -why- we got into that was to focus on quality of life, economic development, and downtown revitalization," said Hunt, who is an El Paso native.

In fact his father, Woody, is a proud graduate of Ysleta High School.  As proud residents of the borderland, Hunt and his management group have made sure to try to incorporate murals and other reminders of El Paso's rich culture on full display, even in the newest buildings.  It's great to see El Paso's rich history being preserved while "modernization" continues to charge forward.

Many of the additions of downtown were included in the first edition of KVIA's "People, Places & Paul" series.  In our next story in this series, we'll focus on how the Ysleta, Socorro and San Elizario Missions, continue to spark tourism and -pride- to the lower valley. 

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

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Paul Cicala


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