El Paso County Commissioners have accepted a $30,000 grant from the Texas Preservation Trust Fund to help renovate the historic Casa Ronquillo building located in San Elizario.
The County first announced plans to renovate the nearly 200-year-old building in 2016, setting aside $300,000 in hotel occupancy tax revenue to help pay for the renovations.
“Unfortunately, it’s been very poorly kept. It hasn’t been maintained for several decades and it’s actually falling apart and in my opinion on the verge of collapse," Precinct 3 County Commissioner Vince Perez said.
The grant that was received on Monday requires a $30,000 match from the County.
"This grant is really intended to bring it up structurally, make sure it is structurally sound, and then we hope to do more with the facility once funding is available," Perez said.
According to research from historians with El Paso Community College, in 1832, the land was sold to Jose Ignacio Ronquillo — the captain in command of the San Elizario Presidio. The estate was later known as the Viceroy’s Palace. In the early 1900s it served as the Motor Inn. Later on, the property became apartments. The building has been vacated since the 1960s.
"It such a great asset as it is dating back that far, and the possibility of finding even more history to it,"
President of the San Elizario Historical Society Al Borrego said. "The more they can see the more tourism they get."