Several protesters showed up to open house to oppose Mexican American Cultural Center

    Several protesters showed up to open house to oppose Mexican American Cultural Center (Source: CBS4) <p>{/p}

    Protestors took over an open house showcasing new designs for the Mexican American Cultural Center.

    Those opposing the current plans for the Mexican American Cultural Center say what the city is offering is simply not enough.

    They tell CBS4 it's about properly respecting and showcasing Mexican-American culture and giving it the place it deserves.

    What was supposed to be an open house for designs of the new Mexican American Cultural Center soon became the grounds for a lively protest.

    “I am for the library staying the way it is and the Mexican-American center having their own site, where they want to have it,” said Marsha Labodda, a person who opposes the MACC design.

    The center is expected to take over one of the floors of the El Paso public library downtown.

    “The library will still have 60 percent of the building, over 60,00 (square feet) of space. It'll be able to attain its child center, teen town and all those will be updated and enhanced,” said Ben Fyffe, assistant director for the city of El Paso museums.

    That means the center won't have its own structure. That's due to budgeting.

    “The original allocation for the project was $5.75 (million), and then a few years ago the city allocated an additional $10 million to the project with the understanding that it was underfunded,” said Fyffe.

    Adding to an existing structure can help keep costs low.

    “First of all, we don't, have to worry about site acquisition or negotiation. We already own the land and the city has already budgeted the operation's expenses,” said Fyffe.

    Protestors say their culture needs its own space.

    Former city Rep. Lily Limon says the budget needs to be expanded and the plans revised.

    “Once again, there's money when our city manager wants to find the money,” said Limon, who opposes the MACC.

    El Paso museums will present the new budget allocation to City Council on Tuesday to determine whether they will approve the additional $10 million.

    Protestors are expected to be there, too.

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