Arkansas Tech University has plans to make El Paso great again. In the last 14 years, Tech has purchased properties along El Paso Street, but nothing has really happened to help change Tech or Russellville.
All that is about to change.
The Pop Up El Paso event last fall, which showed the Russellville community the possibilities of cultural and economic growth along El Paso Avenue, was “to help activate the public’s awareness of El Paso,” according to Jeff Mott, chief of staff at Tech.
This awareness will continue with food trucks and other special events during football season. As for right now, El Paso Street is on hold. According to Mott, there are some rezoning matters that need to be attended to with the city, and once they are addressed, the city council has to approve them.
“We haven’t had any real conversations in a little while mostly because the campus master plan process,” Mott said.
The Master Plan was submitted to the city council in August last year and “should complement the existing campuses in Russellville and Ozark while addressing the complexities of a growing educational program, increased student population, spatial study, campus life, on-campus housing and recreation, Lake Point Conference Center, traffic circulation, access, utility distribution, parking and other university properties. This plan will provide a guide for future campus development and expansion during the next twenty years.”
“I look forward to the development on El Paso to strengthen our community and to bridge our campus to downtown in a meaningful way,” Bernadette Hinkle, vice president for administration and finance, said.
El Paso is still in the works but has to work in parallel to the Master Plan for the funds allocated to each to be used in an effective and campus-oriented way.
“We don’t want to get out ahead of it and start doing something on El Paso and it’s not consistent with the campus Master Plan; we want to make sure they are working together,” Mott said.
El Paso is still on track and, though the paperwork has slowed down the physical work to be done, the plans are still a go for the fall of this year.