So I waited until a workday, in the late afternoon after lunch time, at a time I expected to get an idea of what its like when it would most likely be deserted.
Let's start with the obvious - the plazita is a hell of a lot cooler and nicer than it used to be.
The plazita is a meeting place again. Couples, families, people on their lunch breaks, tourists, and regular Paseños are all using the plazita again. In fact, I was surprised at how many people were there and how many went in and out.
The cafe is a cool addition. I saw someone complaining about the pricing but frankly its not really too expensive. Its probably on the lower-end in pricing when you compare it to other downtown eating options.
Los Lagartos. I struggled with putting this in here for a few minutes. When you think about it, it was really shitty that we had animals in the plazita to begin with and we abused them. We meaning El Pasoans back then. People threw stuff at them and mistreated them. Frankly it was pretty shameful. But we aren't the only city to have done a knucklehead thing like that. The statue doesn't celebrate our stupidity and abuse of the animals. The statue is a great icon of El Paso - and give credit where it is due - kudos to Norma Chavez for leading the effort to save it.
This is the part were Miguel Juarez starts bitching about not getting credit for it.
Any who, I like that there are more trees in the plazita now too. The canopy is nice and of course the chess tables, ping-pong tables, and horse shoe areas are cool.
Who's bright idea was it to make it so much concrete. Jesus that sun reflects like crazy and makes it hot!
There is more green space...allegedly, but not really. Why? Because they have these damn electrical boxes everywhere. There isn't green space in the park that DOESN'T have these boxes. Whats the over-under before someone bites it on one of those? I'm guessing the first casualties will be a kid or the elderly.
The name of the cafe is Rent-A-Chef. Seriously, you couldn't think of something better than that?
The fountain part looks cool, but you expect the water to do something. It doesn't. It just sits there. Nice breeding ground for the Zika Virus thought. Well done Rep Niland, put stagnant water in the middle of a gathering point for people. I'm sure that is going to work out great.
While the plazita is certainly a vast improvement over what it was, there are two truths about it.
#1 - Doesn't seem to be worth all the money that was spent on it. Its not like there were building a lot of structures there or anything.
#2 - It damn sure wasn't worth the time it took to get done. This isn't a case of the city taking time to make sure the job was done right, this was just a poorly managed project.
It cost too much and took too long. Like a bad fixer-upper. But, its a great addition to the downtown area. People genuinely like it, despite the hater-aide you hear from some people online. It will be a point of pride for people and is yet another cool addition to the downtown area.