- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 3, 2015

EL PASO, Texas (AP) - El Paso has been awarded a $56,000 matching grant for a historic survey of its downtown area.

The city, which received the grant from the Texas Historical Commission, is expected to use the survey to nominate downtown El Paso as a national historic district, the El Paso Times (http://bit.ly/1uTZQYd ) reported. That designation will give the city tax credits which can be used for the renovation and preservation of historic buildings.

Bradford Patterson, director of the commission’s Community Heritage Development Division, said the commission awarded slightly more than the $50,000 requested because of the importance of the project and the planned match.

The new survey, which will take a year to complete, will replace one that dates back to the 1990s.

Historic designation by the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is honorary label given by the federal government. According to preservationists, the survey will help identify properties of historical significance and elevate the city of El Paso.

“Nobody will get off I-10 on their way to Austin or Phoenix to see El Paso unless we preserve our architectural heritage and stop being like any other stopping place for a hamburger or gas,” said Max Grossman, vice chairman of the El Paso County Historical Commission.

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Information from: El Paso Times, http://www.elpasotimes.com

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