EL PASO, Texas - City Council voted to enter an agreement with the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority to jumpstart construction of pedestrian improvement projects in Kern Place near the University of Texas at El Paso.
The $2.8 million project, which includes the construction of the signature Sun City Lights archway in Kern Place, will improve street and pedestrian safety, city officials said.
The goal of the project, funded by certificates of obligation, is to combine public art, urban design, and neighborhood revitalization strategies.
Construction is expected to begin in August and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year.
The project includes street reconstruction, resurfacing, increased parking and sidewalk reconstruction, officials said.
It also includes new street lighting and landscaping along the portion of Cincinnati and Glory Road/Baltimore streets located between Oregon and Stanton.
Newly-elected City Representative Cassandra Brown argued the money from certificates of obligation should be used for street reconstruction and not aesthetics.
"Do not misinterpret when I say we should not fix the streets. I am saying let's fix the streets. Let's do it. Let's reconstruct the streets and the side walks. But the archways and the lighting is not what we should be doing with the street dollars," Brown said.
The street car project is already underway and City Representative Peter Svarzbein said by piggybacking the Kern Place improvements, the streets would only have to be torn up once, not twice.
"This came about because of a clear concern and need for enhanced pedestrian safety in a heavily trafficked corridor," Svarzbein said, "And if we were to change the project at this point, we will lose the opportunity for saving tax dollars, saving businesses and saving lives."