The Paso del Norte Community Foundation established the Downtown Deck Plaza Foundation to support the vision for a deck plaza over I-10 in the downtown corridor. The transformational project will stitch together the neighborhoods on either side of I-10 in the downtown area and bring needed green space, hike/bike and other recreational amenities to the region. The initial vision for the project was developed by OJB Landscape Architecture, the firm that designed the Klyde Warren Park (a five-acre deck park in downtown Dallas), with funding support from the Paso del Norte Health Foundation.
The Foundation is partnering with the City of El Paso to further advance the project. The City has received a $900,000 RAISE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to engage the community and work on the design and engineering for the project. The Foundation is helping to raise $250,000 in matching funds for this effort and welcomes your support. Tax-deductible contributions of all sizes are welcome. Gifts can be made to the Paso del Norte Community Foundation.
Via check: made payable to the Paso del Norte Community Foundation, 221 N. Kansas Street, Suite 1900, El Paso, Texas 79901 (with a note that it’s for the Downtown Deck Plaza Foundation)
Via credit card: using the donate button below.
To learn more about the project and/or to get involved in future planning efforts, log on to: DowntownDeckPlaza.org.
Tangible personal property. Examples may be real estate, oil, gas, or mineral interests.
Bequests, appreciated securities, life insurance, retirement plans, and charitable remainder trusts, and more.
The Paso del Norte Community Foundation first learned about deck plazas during the Reimagine I-10 planning study led by the Texas Department of Transportation during which they shared images of what a cap over I-10 could look like in the downtown area. We were intrigued. A deck plaza would provide the connectivity the Foundation was looking for to connect the Paso del Norte Trail – a 68-mile hike/bike trail across El Paso County – including segments from UTEP/Sunset Heights through Downtown to Magoffin and the Medical Center of the Americas to Playa Drain Trail from Ascarate Park to Capistrano Park – and all trail segments from county-line to county-line. Completed trail segments like the Playa Drain Trail have already contributed to an increase in physical activity, showcased environmental demonstration projects like the bio-swales near Hidden Valley Park, created habitats for burrowing owls, and added more than one thousand trees to our ecosystem.
As currently envisioned, the Deck Plaza would support connectivity and add green space and trees, while also providing a center for community programs/activities and architectural and recreational features for the urban core. It would cap the sunken portion of Interstate 10 in the downtown corridor, re-connect the neighborhoods on either side, and create a welcome amenity for the broader region.
The Foundation has seen this model work in cities across the U.S. There are currently more than twenty deck plazas in place across the U.S. including cities as close as Phoenix and Dallas - with dozens more in the planning process, including Austin, Houston, and a second project in Dallas. We have seen how deck plazas over freeways have led to the beautification of the transportation systems, encouraged infill development and affordable housing in the urban core, and improved north-side and east-west connectivity.
El Paso has a need for greater connectivity. Thousands of pedestrians cross I-10 in the downtown corridor on a weekly basis – for school, work, shopping, and medical care. The Deck Plaza would better link neighborhoods on either side of I-10 and create safe and secure north-south and east-west connections that were lost with the construction of the freeway in the 1960s.
We know that El Pasoans value green, public spaces. From the University of Texas at El Paso’s transformative Centennial Plaza to public parks across El Paso, young people, families, and seniors embrace and utilize free, high-quality public spaces. With the addition of trees and other green amenities, the Deck Plaza would add additional recreational and hike/bike spaces for residents and visitors alike.
The proposed Deck Plaza is an aspirational project but also one that is in reach.
The RAISE grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation gives us the opportunity to take the next step in the planning process, to answer important questions like the appropriate size and footprint for the plaza, needed amenities, and, of course, how to piece together the funding to cover the cost.
With future funding potentially available through the recently-passed infrastructure bill from both state and federal sources, El Paso has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to turn an aspirational project into reality: a project that is appropriate for the urban core, improves air quality and environment, ensures safe and secure connections, and serves as a signature amenity and destination for our region.
We thank the City of El Paso for applying for the planning funds and the U.S. Department of Transportation for investing in our region. The Paso del Norte Community Foundation established the Downtown Deck Plaza Foundation to support the development of this transformative space as part of the PDN Community Foundation’s commitment and many projects and initiatives designed to improve health, education, social services, economic development and quality of life in our region.
We invite the community to participate in the further vision and design process for the Downtown Deck Plaza. You can visit downtowndeckplaza.org to learn more, and sign up for email updates for opportunities to be involved and stay informed.
Downtown Deck Plaza: A Vision for the Future
PdN Community Foundation establishes Downtown Deck Plaza Foundation