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Neighbors help select design for Palisades Canyon

By: Genevieve Curtis
EL PASO, Texas -- The Palisades Canyon tucked away in West El Paso near Kern Place will soon be getting some major upgrades to boost hiking and other outdoor activities.

Neighbors from kern place to scenic drive had the chance to make an impact on designing the park upgrades at Palisades Canyon.

As part of the 2012 quality of life bonds, the park gets around $300,000 for upgrades, new trails and redesign.

"We got a lot of design in terms of what people want to see on everything from parking location to materials," said Mathew McElroy the director of the Development Department for the city of El Paso.

If you're not looking for it, you might just drive past the park. The gem tucked away in west El Paso is at the winding intersection of Robinson Avenue and Rim Road. But its frequently used by neighbors who run, hike and walk their dogs in the canyon.

"A lot of people use it but its sort of under the radar," said Peter Svarzbein, who lives in the area and attended the design meeting Tuesday night at Mesita Middle School.

In the final design and planning meeting with the community, a vision of the park took hold.

A vast majority of neighbors want to see natural materials used and minimal intrusion to the landscape.

"I think these are the kinds of projects that help encourage and sustain a healthy character for El Paso. It's not trying to copy or do something another city does but we are utilizing our own resources," Svarzbein said.

There are still elements to work out, including the possibility the city could purchase more land to expand the park but that would come at the cost of other design features.

There's still plenty of public input to consider before the design is finalized.

"One thing I hope happens out of this is that there's some sort of really a great combination of new and old materials. Perhaps a public art component that utilizes solar panels and LED lighting to encourage visibility beyond the street lighting," said Svarzbein.

McElroy said the city's team is hoping to get a final design completed and timeline for construction in the next 30 days.

Other improvements are being made in the area. El Paso Water Utilities is making some changes to improve storm water drainage.



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