Population growth spurts Far East El Paso growth
By Joe Olvera ©, 2012
With the advent of the addition of two new first-run movie theaters in far East El Paso, this fastest growing part of town continues to boom. The question is why? Well, for the most part, El Paso cannot grow in any other direction. To the south of the city is Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; to the west are the two towns of Anthony – one in Texas, one in New Mexico. Thus, the only expansion must be to the east. The growth and expansion of the U.S. Army’s Fort Bliss hasn’t hurt either.
With Montana Vista growing by leaps and bounds with the Vista chain of supermarkets, and with its proximity to Loop 375, the market for theaters, grocery stores, and soccer fields, population growth is a given. The more people move into the area, the more amenities will find their way to the ever-increasing market. For example, the 14-screen first-run movie houses will now open to movie buffs, saving them a long trip to Central and downtown El Paso. Cinemark and Carmike have joined the battle for ticket sales, hoping to outdo Tinseltown, Carmike and Premier Bassett Place, all located off the Interstate. But, of course, theaters aren’t the only attractions that help a community grow.
Sierra Providence East Medical Center is gearing up for a $67 million expansion of its medical facilities more than two years ahead of schedule. The expansion means more beds, an enlarged emergency room, and other needed services. This hospital will help provide medical services to the burgeoning population – a fact that, again, saves residents of the area many miles in seeking medical care in El Paso’s more centralized facilities. Although the Medical Center did not envision such a rapid expansion, the fact remains that huge population gains have forced it to jump start its growth. Once again, the expansion of Fort Bliss will provide military families with civilian facilities partaking of medical services. The proximity of the military base and the housing boom in the area has created a great need for doctors. That need is being filled with the hiring of 350 more physicians, as opposed to the 120 that existed a few years ago. In addition, a proposed billion dollar William Beaumont Medical Center slated to open in 2016 will welcome military patients who may live in the area of Loop 375 and Spur 601.
For the sports-minded lovers of Soccer, the city’s upcoming November 6 multi-million dollar bond election, if approved by voters, will help build up to 12 soccer fields and an Olympic-sized swimming pool, with two 50-meter competition pools, something El Paso has been without for too many years. These recreational facilities will be constructed near Montana Avenue and Rich Beem Boulevard. With a population explosion that has seen the area bloom from 70,000 to 111,000, is there any doubt that far East El Paso is witnessing a huge growth spurt? But, for these facilities to become a reality, voters must approve the city’s bond election.
To those who live in the new housing subdivisions that are popping up, the recreational facilities would be a godsend. With houses being built near the proposed recreational facilities, family life will be vastly improved. As for the soccer fields, it is estimated that 75 percent of the more than 11,000 soccer players already reside in far East El Paso, and more are expected to purchase homes in the area. But, it all hangs in the balance. Some of the amenities, such as improved medical care and movie theaters are already a given. The city’s plans to improve recreation to property owners, however, hinges on the approval of the $473 million bond election. That’s not a given at all, but, home owners are hopeful that growth will continue, a growth that spurs the economy, increases taxes paid to the city, and the continued development of an area that has been desolate for too long.