ASARCO Smoke Stacks Will Be Demolished

Jacqueline Crea – NewsChannel 9 KTSM

El Paso, TX — The ASARCO smoke stacks are coming down.
This comes after site trustee Roberto Puga decided today, the “Save The Stacks” group did not meet the requirements set forth more than a year ago.

ASARCO trustee Roberto Puga made his decision Wednesday to tear down the ASARCO smoke stacks.

“The Save the Stacks group you know led an admirable effort. They did not submit a proposal that met all the criteria,” said Puga.

The decision was made a day after a deadline given to a group determined to turn the 860 foot tall smoke stacks into a monument. That group still hopes trustee Puga can find a solution.

“The stack could serve as the country’s tallest monument, highlighting our economic history and paying respect to the ASARCO workers as well as serving as the centerpiece and beacon of a redeveloped ASARCO site,” said Robert Ardovino, with Save the Stacks.

People around town had mixed feelings.

“I’ve heard that it has caused too many diseases in the past. I know it’s not working anymore but I believe that if its something not good for society it just needs to go,” said West El Paso resident Rafia Perez.

Another resident felt it is time to make use of the space.

“I think its been empty for many years but I think if they can do something better with it then I don’t have an attachment to it. So it would be fine to me,” said West El Paso resident Irma Sandoval.

“Bittersweet, I guess to think of them tearing them down because when you take pictures of like El Paso or Juarez around this area and you always see ASARCO towers, so it’s like a monument,” said West El Paso resident Fernanda De La Cierda.

It could have been an official monument, if city council had voted to take full ownership of the ASARCO site, but that didn’t happen last week.

“I think there would’ve been more support on council for that but because at the last minute, he (Puga) kinda said you know what I’m gonna make you take full ownership and its gonna take ten million to do it,” said City Representative Susie Byrd.

Even though city council opted out because they felt the cost was too steep to put on the taxpayers, Council member Byrd proposed a resolution to support the stacks without financial obligation, which passed. She still has hope.

“Certainly I’m disappointed but I’m hopeful that the trustee will recognize that there’s a lot of community support for it and he’ll work with the community at moving forward to finding a way to preserve them,” said Byrd.

The Trust’s engineering team will be scheduling a public meeting and dates for demolition sometime in the beginning of 2013. That information can be found here.