The 10-story El Paso City Hall building was demolished Sunday morning to make room for a Triple-A baseball stadium.
The City Hall building was the second landmark in the West Texas City to be demolished over the weekend. On Saturday the massive chimneys of the former ASARCO copper and lead smelter site, which dominated the El Paso skyline for the past half-century, were demolished.
The El Paso Times reports that it took less than 10 seconds for the City Hall to be demolished during a controlled implosion. The newspaper reports that hundreds gathered in the West Texas city's downtown to watch the event. Some protesters who had fought to save the 34-year-old building also gathered.
The demolition of City Hall is part of a downtown revitalization plan that includes building a $50 million ballpark for the Tucson Padres. The team is scheduled to relocate to El Paso.
For El Paso to attract the San Diego Padres' Triple-A team, it had to agree to build the stadium, which the city hopes will be the anchor for a downtown revitalization plan, attracting pedestrian traffic and businesses to the area.
On Saturday, hundreds of camera-toting El Paso residents gathered before sunrise on the banks of the Rio Grande that overlook the former ASARCO site to document the 600- and 829-foot-tall chimneys' slow downward slide.
The former smelter site, located few minutes from downtown and adjacent to the University of Texas at El Paso, will become a prime section of real estate.
Founded in 1887 to process ore from mines in Mexico, the smelter was a vital part of El Paso's economy for much of the past century. But it also was a major source of contamination. The plant was shut down amid complaints of polluting the area while incinerating materials from a military facility that produced chemical weapons from World War II. ASARCO filed for bankruptcy in 2005 and four years later, placed $52 million in a trust to clean up the area.
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