Path cleared: El Paso on the move

By El Paso Times Editorial Board

Call it two jobs done amazingly well, albeit with a couple of questions. Not only did the felling of two large smoke stacks and the implosion of 10-story City Hall begin and end in mere seconds over the weekend, but those Asarco stacks had already gone poof – nothing but dust – by Sunday.

And El Paso moves on, or as one bystander at the City Hall rubble said, “Play ball!”

But there was a huge cloud of dust that rolled through Sunset Heights and Juárez after the Asarco demolition. And just what was in that cloud, and did it pose a health risk to the public? That’s a question that must still be answered.

The continued remediation of the large Asarco smelter site will plod on to about 2015. But it sure didn’t take but a blink, it seems, to crush the fallen 828-foot stack, and its shorter little brother.

After the two big thuds Saturday morning, crews had rendered the two stacks to basically power by Sunday. That 828-foot stack was almost as tall as a 70-story building.

Former El Paso Mayor Larry Francis was succinct in his appraisal. “No surprises. That’s good …” he said.

Clearing-off work now continues at the mostly razed Asarco site, with the hope the land can be sold and eventually developed by commercial enterprises.

At the City Hall site, there is a buzz of activity. Crews were to take up to three weeks to clear off approximately 1,000 truckloads of what sat as a mound of debris by the end of breakfast time Sunday morning.

is the catch phrase at that site as the city has promised to open a new Triple-A ballpark by this time next year. The City Hall demolition, the earlier razing of the Insights Science Museum, and most of the construction costs for the $50 million ballpark will come from a Hotel Occupancy Tax, not El Paso property owners.

If there was a hitch to Sunday’s City Hall implosion, it was at the home of Jose Loya. He lives only 100 feet away from the site and he lost a window and wound up with some rocks and dust in a room near a fire escape.

To have such minor damage as a result of 400 pounds of dynamite indicates the impressive job done by the crews with MacKay Demolition and Controlled Demolition Inc.

Whereas the Asarco land can become a good addition to the future tax base here, the whole idea of replacing City Hall with a ballpark is to revitalize and create a vibrant Downtown.

The San Diego Padres’ Triple-A team will play home games here starting next baseball season, and that will draw people to the area more than 70 times a year.

stadium can also host other events, such as boxing and concerts.

In a matter of seconds Saturday and Sunday, paths were cleared to move El Paso forward.