In December 2016, architectural historian Max Grossman led nearly 60 people on a tour of Duranguito buildings.

The Duranguito neighborhood of the Union Plaza District has been a site of contention since October of last year. In a pingpong debate between the City of El Paso and Duranguito advocates, plans to build a $180 multi-purpose arena at the Union Plaza have recently been halted by a temporary restraining order. There’s also a push to formally designate Duranguito a historic neighborhood. With all this in mind, we sent photographer Jorge Salgado Downtown to get the perspective of a few locals and ask: 

What do you think would happen to Duranguito if the city chose a different location for the arena?

Ari Yara

Ari Yara: That’s really hard to tell. Everybody could be like, “Oh, well, it’s a sh*tt* neighborhood, there’s cheap housing and stuff.” But for the people living there, it’s important to them. So it really depends on who has more of a say. I hope it stays. I know how hard it is to find housing in general.

Jose Luis Varela

Jose Luis Varela: People are going to get mad because they’re going to have to move places and there could be a lot of changes. I don’t think the people will be able to stay there.

Laura Salas

Laura Salas: If it was chosen for a different area, they would be okay for now. But I think eventually, El Paso is getting bigger, and we’re wanting to build more. Eventually, they’re going to try to push them out again. Something else is going to come up. They may win this round, but they’re going to have to fight again for something else.

Rose Wong

Rose Wong: I think the people would be very happy. Isn’t that what they’re fighting for – to stay, to have their neighborhood stay in place? I think they would try to restore it. They would be very happy if it would be designated a historical area. At least, that’s what I understand. I’m not from the area. I only know what I hear on the news.

Xander Bohler

Xander Bohler: If they don’t put the arena there, I’m pretty sure that would be the end of that. And then I think they would go through with the historical district kind of thing.