April 12, 2023 757 PM
PRESIDIO — At last week’s meeting, members of Presidio City Council received an update from the Rio Grande Council of Governments (RioCOG) about an ongoing project to revamp the city’s 911 addresses. Presidio currently doesn’t have a consistent addressing system, causing confusion on a spectrum from mixed-up packages to delayed emergency response times.
Alma Martin — the head of a citizen committee guiding the RioCOG effort — gave a presentation about the group’s efforts. “We’re excited to do this and we’re excited to get it done,” she said.
Even people familiar with the area can have a difficult time finding houses by their addresses. She explained that the only consistent way for first responders to determine street addresses in Presidio is by looking at water meters — which aren’t always easy to find, especially in the dark.
The group — made up of Martin, Adrian Flores, Jesus Valles and Glorisel Muñiz, with guidance from RioCOG representatives Jesus Hermosillo and Kayse Muratori — scoured the city for inconsistent street names. Much of the confusion lay in the fact that street names often repeat themselves. “We have a house at the corner of First and 1st,” Martin said.
A total of 128 addresses will be changed under the new rules. Many of Presidio’s streets are named for veterans — the group unanimously decided not to change any of those. The changes will instead target redundancies: numbered streets and streets with the word “park” in them will be given new monikers.
The committee infused the new names with local flavor. Some reference local flora and fauna — Yucca Street and Ocotillo Avenue will replace East Parkway and Park Way. Others honor local Indigenous groups, including Lipan Circle and Jumano Street.
The names were intentionally chosen so that they were unique from streets in other towns in the Big Bend. “These names were not chosen from a hat — there was a lot of thought that went into it,” Hermosillo said.
Some folks raised concerns — not about the new names, but about some of the complications that might arise from giving Presidians new addresses. Councilmember Arian Velázquez-Ornelas asked about insurance companies, who she worried wouldn’t transfer home insurance to the same property at a new address.
Muratori said that the changes would be gradual and that she would do the research needed to negotiate with insurance companies — she felt that the changes were right in line with the insurers’ interests. “At the end of the day, the reason we’re doing this is because of public safety concerns,” she said.
In the process, Muratori also hoped that the new addresses would allow Presidio’s wonky Google results to be updated — many search results are inaccurate or display Street View images 15 years out of date. “We want to put Presidio on the map — Google Maps,” she said.
Martin acknowledged that the changes will take some getting used to. “Will the public be happy about it? Probably not. But it is crucial, and we need to get it started.”