Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Construction Update: San Jacinto Plaza Renovation Project

Work Begins on Central Shade Structure that will Protect 'Los Lagartos' Sculpture

The famed “Los Lagartos” sculpture that calls San Jacinto Plaza home will be getting a protective shade structure as part of park improvements, and now crews have begun laying the foundation for the public art in Downtown El Paso.
A shade structure will protect the ‘Los Lagartos’ sculpture at the renovated San Jacinto Plaza, supported by cables on pylons. (City of El Paso)

According to a City update, an auger is now on site which will dig holes 50 feet deep that will house the pylons that will support the shade structure using stainless steel cables. The floating shade canopy will allow small bits of sunlight to peek through during the day and add an artistic element with special lighting at night, according to the project manager’s blog (

Pavers that will be used at San Jacinto Plaza.
The structure will hover over the famed “Los Lagartos” sculpture created by Luis Jimenez as an homage to live alligators that once lived at the park in its early days. It is currently undergoing rehabilitation in Ohio.

This is part of the larger $6 million reconstruction that is transforming San Jacinto Plaza into a modern park. Crews are also currently installing irrigation and electrical lines, and removing old underground restrooms. In all, 2.5 million miles of electrical conduit have been installed with an expected 10 miles of electrical wire set to be laid.

Several hundred custom concrete pavers are now on site, just a portion of the nearly 40,000 pavers that will be placed at the park. They will create an “intricate pattern” for walkways and paths.
Conceptual rendering of the shade structure going up at San Jacinto Plaza. (City of El Paso)

In July, work began on the foundation for a cafe that will serve food and drinks on the west side of the plaza. Other amenities planned for San Jacinto include an interactive water feature, game tables, a game pit, a stage, and additional trees and vegetation. The plaza has expanded ten feet in each direction by taking over a former parking lane that surrounded the park.

City officials hope to have the plaza completed in early 2015. The work is being done as part of the 2012 Quality of Life bond initiative approved by voters.