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Friday, May 2, 2014 - 2:51pm
EL PASO (KDBC) —
Advocates for the Lincoln Center said several fundamental things were left out when TxDOT discussed the construction of a connector between I-10 and Highway 54 and the Border highway.
Hector Gutierrez, an El Paso resident at today’s meeting said some of the things missing was “communication, transparency, allowing the public to input into a very important process.”
Friday’s El Paso Metropolitan Planning and Organization meeting was packed as concerned citizens attempted to learn the fate of the Lincoln Center.
“There have been comments made at very high levels by TxDOT officials that the Lincoln Center will be demolished, that it would be a done deal,” Gutierrez said.
The Lincoln Center, a former recreational center, has been vacant since 2006.
The Lincoln Park Conservation Committee has been working since 2008 to reopen it.
Recently, however, they’ve had to shift gears. Now they are just trying to save the building from being demolished.
“Actually as far back as a year ago we had been shown some proposed plans that did not include the demolition of the Lincoln Center. So we were moving forward thinking that those were the plans,” said Hector Gonzalez with The Lincoln Park Conservation Committee.
TxDOT has 13 options before them, which includes the “no build” option” to leave the Lincoln Center as it is.
They will now evaluate the options and solicit public input before making any final decisions.
“An environmental review process that takes into account the impact of the project on the community. cultural and historical institutions of a community. That's a part of the process,” said Senator Jose Rodriguez.
Many different organizations will play a part in the final decision, from the Federal Highway Administration to the Department of Transportation.
In addition, the Metropolitan Planning Organization can also decide the fate of the project.
“The MPO can decide to deprogram, to defund the project a particular project,” Rodriguez said.
Officials said a decision will have to be made by fiscal year 2016.