This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Fireworks Display: From Ascarate Park to Fort Bliss to Socorro, there will be various fireworks displays throughout El Paso this holiday weekend. At Ascarate Park the fireworks display will begin at approximately 9:20 p.m. on Monday. However, the gates to get into Ascarate Park will close to incoming traffic at 8 p.m. Food trucks will set up at the park starting at 3 p.m. Fort Bliss will have its annual Pop Goes the Fort celebration with a fireworks show as soon as it gets dark. Western Playland and both Abundant Living Faith centers in the Lower Valley and Westside will also have fireworks displays on Monday night. The city of Socorro will have its display on Saturday. The El Paso Chihuahuas will have fireworks shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday after each game which starts at 6:30 p.m.
July 4 Closing: All federal, state, county and city offices will be closed on Monday in observance of the July Fourth holiday. All local school districts, as well as the University of Texas at El Paso, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso and El Paso Community College will also be closed.
UMC Expansion, Property Tax Increase: After four hours of testimony on Monday, the El Paso County Commissioners Court, via a 3-2 vote, authorized University Medical Center of El Paso to begin the process to issue up to $400 million in certificates of obligation to expand the public hospital. Commissioners David Stout and Iliana Holguin voted against the proposal, which will require a property tax increase, because public input was not solicited in advance. Before issuing the certificates, UMC will return to the Commissioners Court on Sept. 12 for final approval and an update on the property tax impact.
New Chamber CEO: Andrea Hutchins, the former economic development department director at El Paso County who has a military background and ties to Fort Bliss, is the new chief executive officer for the El Paso Chamber. She replaces David Jerome who left in March. Hutchins is currently the chief operating officer at Thomas P. Miller & Associates, an Indianapolis economic and workforce consulting firm. She will be the chamber’s first female CEO.