Editor’s note: El Paso businessman and investor Paul Foster was inducted with three others into the El Paso County Historical Society’s Hall of Honor on Nov. 4. Below are excerpts from his written remarks.
Thank you. It is a great honor to be named to the society’s Hall of Honor.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the society. I believe what you do to find, preserve and share El Paso’s unique history is vitally important. But just as important to me is the way you do it.
I’ve always felt that the society has reflected a good balance of historical preservation and progress. And that balance is an issue close to me – a balance that I hope our city and its residents can carry forward. The preservation of history and the development of our city can and must exist together.
Many times, I’m asked why I’m investing so much in Downtown El Paso. The answer is simple: I live here, my wife and daughter live here, and I want to do what I can to help make El Paso a more dynamic and vibrant city.
Granted, to be a dynamic city involves so much more than renovating buildings in Downtown. It involves education, economic development, quality of life issues, good government and much, much more.
One of the key components to getting El Paso to the next level is to build and promote a more dynamic Downtown. If you look at the great cities around our country, they all have great downtowns. So, that was the impetus behind my buying and revitalizing the Mills Building, the Centre Building and the St. Regis parking facility.
I’m also very excited that we will re-open the Plaza Hotel next year, and a new six-story parking facility adjacent to the hotel is under construction as well. That entire area is known as the Mills Plaza District. Among many other amenities, it will feature public walkways, bars and restaurants, offices, hotels and other attractions that will draw more people to the hub of our city.
So what I’m doing is intended to enhance what is already in place or will be in place soon: our new ballpark, the Plaza Theatre, the Museum of Art and the History Museum, and soon, the Mexican American cultural center and the children’s museum. I remain hopeful for a new multipurpose arena as well.
New businesses looking to move to a city always do their homework on entertainment, arts, sports and culture in a prospective city. They know of the importance of those things to employees and their families, and we, as a city, should never come in second to anybody in those areas.
All of us can play a role in making El Paso a better, more competitive city. We have a great start, and I’m grateful that I can be a part of El Paso’s revitalization – while never losing sight of how important it is to preserve our history.
Thank you again for this great honor.