El Paso, TX - The Historical Commission heard an impassioned speech made by J.P. Bryan Friday morning.
Bryan is a Texas businessman, and ally of historian Max Grossman, who wants to preserve the Duranguito and stop the building of an arena in that area.
Bryan made quite a few allegations against the city in his speech to The Historical Commission, including his accusation that the city has a reckless disregard for the preservation of it's historical artifacts.
Bryan said "The city's objective is to totally destroy the Duranguito, to remove it from sight, to remove it from memory and to remove it from the history of El Paso completely."
Bryan went on to say that the Duranguito is considered to be one of the most endangered sites in Texas by many important preservation organizations - some of whom have pleaded with the city to preserve the area. Going on to attack the City's reasoning for opposing the State Antiquities Landmark designation in the neighborhood.
Bryan said the city rejected the State Antiquities Landmark designation "Because they weren't legal, and they only wanted to do what is right for El Paso. Well let me say, if they want to do what's right, that's a big step up for the City of El Paso," stated Bryan.
Bryan also went on to accuse the city of misleading the voters during the approval of the 2012 quality of life bond, saying, the city did not tell them that a large part of the money was going to finance a sports arena.
"And when the gentleman said yesterday from El Paso that 72% of the population approved it, it's only because they were deceived as to the intent of it," Bryan told the commission.
ABC 7 reached out to the city, asking for a response to the allegations made by Bryan, and they insist that they are committed to preserving history, not destroying it.
In response to the allegation that The City is using a legal-ism as an an excuse for opposing the these historical designations Interim City Attorney Karla Nieman said "The City has a responsibility to its Citizens to ensure that all necessary steps are followed according to all applicable laws...The City has done and will continue to do the right thing."
Nieman also told ABC 7 that "The city has done and will continue to do the right thing. That is why it has hired MAC, Inc. which is a cultural resource management firm that has conducted over 70 major archeological projects. MAC has a well-established working relationship with organizations such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Texas Historical Commission. The amount of time and money that the city is devoting to protecting any potential archeological sites is doing the right thing."
This city did not respond however, to the allegation that they misled the voters during the 2012 quality of life bond issue, to get it approved.
According to a news release from the city, they have invested more than $250 million since 2013, to restore historic structures and revitalize downtown.