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Preliminary report says Union Plaza neighborhood should be designated as historic

A preliminary report suggests a four-block portion of Union Plaza should be designated as history. Credit: CBS4 / KFOX14

A preliminary report has designated a four-block portion of the Union Plaza neighborhood to be eligible for a historic designation.

The study isn’t finalized yet but as of right now, the report does indicate the neighborhood referred to as “Duranguito” should be designated as historic.

El Paso County Commissioner David Stout said the commissioner's court approved the funding for the survey unanimously in February 2016.

That neighborhood is part of the footprint of the highly-controversial multipurpose cultural and performing arts center, a project funded by voter-approved bonds.

The city was in talks of acquiring some of the property, and demolition was set to begin in July. However, a judge in Austin issued a temporary restraining order preventing the city from moving forward with the demolition.

Stout and an attorney who represents the people living in the neighborhood said that even though the area can be eligible for historic designation, it won’t necessarily halt any plans for the center.

Stout said the report will be finalized by the end of the year.

The city is awaiting a decision from an Austin judge before it moving forward with construction of the multipurpose cultural and performing arts center.

The judge ruled in July that the city could build the center, as long as it wasn’t a sports arena.

Judge Amy Clark Meachum said as a matter of law, the expenditure of public funds on a sports arena wasn’t a valid expenditure under the ordinance. However, the city could construct a new building as a multipurpose, performing arts and entertainment facility.

A final ruling was set to come down on Tuesday. However, the judge said she would make her final decision on whether sports would be allowed in the facility in a few days.

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