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Lincoln Center may have a new owner; City decides to reacquire building

Tuesday, October 8, 2013 - 7:16pm

A two year fight to save the Lincoln Center has come to a head. The City of El Paso has decided to take the building back from TXDOT. Community members have been fighting for years to save the 101-year-old building.

Organizers who have been working to save the Lincoln Center say the city's decision to reacquire the building is a great step but many more strides must be made in order to get the doors reopened.

Community members have spoken up. "It took community input and effort to make this happen. This did not happen by itself,” Mike Juarez of the Save Lincoln Center Campaign said.

And Tuesday, City Council answered -- "It's apparent that this is a community asset. And one in which deserves to be restored,” City Rep. Cortney Niland, District 8 explained.

El Paso will seek to reacquire the Lincoln Center from TXDOT. "We've been fighting this issue since 2011 and today we won to have it reinstated,” Juarez proclaimed. In 2006., The building was closed after heavy flooding damaged it. Organizers argued the building is fine. "The building is in pristine condition. We've done several walk-throughs."

TXDOT was supposed to demolish Lincoln Center early October, citing costs.

"It's a very strong building they can be used for community purposes,” Ruben Urrutia, a Central El Pasoan said.

Since then, the agency has granted a year extension so those wanting to save the building can do so,"It's a historical building and it's been around a long time,” Ruben Galaviz, a Central El Pasoan told us.

The only decision made Tuesday was to reacquire Lincoln Center. "Before I say yes, absolutely we'll support it no matter what, I want to know what that 'what' is,” Dr. Michiel Noe, City Representative for District 5 exclaimed.

They have yet to hash out, how they will fund the estimated $3 million it would take to reopen the building.

"That's the bottom line, we need to reopen the center for the community,” Juarez told us.

But the project already has more than enough support.


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