EL PASO, Texas - Seventeen months after approving funding, the County of El Paso's historical survey is now underway.
Surveyors from the historical preservation firm Hardy-Heck-Moore of Austin began work on Monday.
"We to date have surveyed about 150 properties out of approximately 1,700 properties in the survey area," architectural historian Emily Payne said. "We've taken photographs, we've mapped, we've taken notes on the properties."
The county held a public meeting Tuesday night to get input.
"We need to understand how the community uses the buildings, and which buildings are important to the community so that we can have a successful project," Payne said.
The County first approved funding for the survey in February of 2016.
The survey will look at this area of downtown. stretching as far north as River Avenue. as far south as the border. as far west as the Union Depot, and as far east as Cotton Street.
The contract stipulates that the survey start in Duranguito, since the neighborhood's historical significance has been hotly contested.
The goal of the survey is a National Historic Register Nomination. A nomination would provide properties with significant state and federal tax incentives.
But it would not necessarily prevent a property from being demolished.
"For private property owners under the National Registry, there are generally no protections from demolitions. it's an incentive based and honorary designation," Payne said.
That means properties that are set to be demolished in Duranguito, would likely not be protected.
Still, preservationists said this data being acquired is important.
"Learning the facts, because there's a lot of information, and I think it would do us all a lot of good for them to hear it from people who aren't emotionally tied to this like most El Pasoans are," former county historical commission chair Bernie Sargent said.
The cost of the survey is $139,562. According to the contract, the county will have the finally survey report in early 2018.