Sunday, December 9, 2012

Asarco Smokestack Demolition Plan Moves Forward

The trustee for the Asarco property stated last week that the demolition of the controversial smokestacks will move forward. Roberto Puga expressed his commendation to the Save the Stacks grassroots group for their efforts in preserving the iconic columns, but made clear that the deadline for the group to present a viable preservation plan had passed with no plan received by the trust. Mr. Puga made his statements in a press release at the Asarco trust website.

In November 2011, the trustee opted to give the Save the Stacks group 12 months to come up with a way to preserve the smokestacks, including finding a way to finance the endeavor. Late last month, the group attempted to have El Paso City Council designate the stacks as city monuments, which would have required the City to fund their upkeep. The City, however, decided to support the group's efforts in name only, not financially.

Trust's concept land use plan for the Asarco West property.
Mr. Puga has argued that keeping the stacks would make it exceedingly difficult to market the property to potential buyers. Presentations to city groups have shown examples of prosperity on former Asarco land in other parts of the country, specifically at locales where smokestacks were torn down.

Former Asarco site in Omaha, Nebraska.
Now, demolition is imminent, and planning will continue to ensure the stacks are destroyed next year. The trust's plans include a concept of a memorial plaza at the site of the largest smokestack. The lower twenty to thirty feet of the stack would be preserved and surrounded by a fountain. Another concept shows a roundabout surrounding the stack's footprint.

Street-level view of a potential memorial where the largest stack now stands.
Related: Asarco Ready for Development in 2015, Stacks or No Stacks

Asarco Trustee website: