Lincoln Center Stalemate

lincoln_cntr_01jul14City council discussed the status of the Lincoln Center on an agenda item that Lily Limon had put on the city council’s agenda that had been postponed for a few weeks. The anticlimactic vote basically directed the city manager to secure the building’s contents and continue the dialog with TXDOT about the future of the building.

Introducing her item, Limon stated that she wanted to modify her agenda item. Limon wanted to remove any mention of financial support for the building by the city in order to avoid a contentious item in her motion.

After her introduction, Limon asked that the speakers be allowed to give their presentations. Except for Lisa Turner who questioned the costs that might be involved and where the money would be coming from, most of the other speakers supported the city stepping up to save the building. During the public speaking portion, a new group seems to have stepped forward to become the “face” of the movement for saving the Lincoln Center.

It was hard to tell what they refer themselves as but it seems like they are some type of Fire Department affiliated group named “Fire Power 40”. Their focus seems to be to get disfranchised children off the streets and give them direction. The group proposed that the Lincoln Center house them for their events and outreach.

The motion approved by city council directs the city manager to secure the property in the building and to continue to discuss the status of building with TXDOT. There was discussion about saving the murals, however, Lily Limon stated that the hope was to keep the building and moving the murals would result in the destruction of it and therefore she did not want that issue included at this point.

The motion passed with everyone voting in favor except for Michiel Noe, who was absent, and Ann Morgan Lilly who voted no.

Ann Morgan Lilly stated that she could not support the Lincoln Center because there were too many unknowns.

The discussion centered on the notion that TXDOT has halted any demolition of the building until further discussions are completed. According to a press release issued by Jose Rodriguez on June 18, 2014, Gen. Weber, on behalf of TXDOT, has stated that TXDOT would not destroy the building if the city “decides to invest in the Lincoln Center.”

However, the question that remains is that the city’s latest council action does not seem to make any commitments by the city to “invest” in the building. Therefore, as much as the public pronouncements about to be uttered of achievements about the debacle the reality is that everything remains status quo.

The building is still owned by TXDOT. The city’s only commitment is to remove the contents of the building. This is something that TXDOT has been asking for a while now. Furthermore, no official action has been taken to “invest” in the building so therefore nothing has changed other than a public façade of “all is good” in El Paso.

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